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.


Fact checking…it’s important, especially in this age of “alternative facts,” clamors of fake news and just plain bogus lies. T has a penchant for it.

Here’s an article from Daniel Dale, Canadian reporter for the Toronto Star - (follow him at @ddale8) has doggedly checked T’s speeches, misstatements and lies.

I’ve made it my mission to fact-check every word Donald Trump utters as president. That means trying to watch every speech, read every transcript, decipher every tweet. I’ve accidentally established a reputation for using Twitter to point out that he’s lying within seconds of him telling a lie.

People sometimes ask in response how I can blast out these corrections so quickly. But I have no special talent. My secret is that Trump tells the same lies over and over.

Fact-checking Trump is kind of like fact-checking one of those talking dolls programmed to say the same phrases for eternity, except if none of those phrases were true. As any parent who owns a squealing Elmo can tell you, the phrases can get tiresome. I’m sure my Twitter followers get bored when I remind them that Trump wasn’t the president who got the Veterans Choice health-care program passed (Barack Obama signed it into law in 2014 ), that U.S. Steel is not building six, seven, eight or nine new plants (it has recently invested in two existing plants) and that foreign governments don’t force their unsavory citizens into the lottery for U.S. green cards (would-be immigrants enter of their own free will).

I’m a Canadian reporter, the Washington bureau chief for the Toronto Star. I wasn’t sent here to cover the honesty beat. I do most of the fact-checking on my own time, spending weekday nights and painful Sundays staring at rally transcripts in my pajamas.

My American colleagues have done wonderful investigative and explanatory journalism on Trump. But with some notable exceptions, like The Washington Post’s terrific fact-checking team led by Glenn Kessler, I don’t think U.S. media outlets have been persistent enough in fighting a daily battle for truth itself.



@dragonfly9 I really enjoy Daniel Dale.


We know that the problem with social media platforms, like FB & Twitter do very little to police misinformation, many have said that it is time for some kind of regulation to come from the Government. Of course, the 1st Amendment on free speech makes us feel that writers and readers should be able to say what they want.

However, the issue of misinformation is now so pervasive that we need to zero in where we can curb it. And “the consequences of such a system are far-reaching.”

From Brian Stelter (CNN)

Misinfo is a chronic condition

There is no quick or easy fix for these fundamental problems. We have to think about misinformation as a "chronic condition," researcher Renee DiResta told me the other day. Misinfo has always existed, but now “we have an information ecosystem that really facilitates the amplification of that content, that facilitates it going viral,” she said. It can’t be “fixed,” but it can be managed….

From CNN article Renee Diresta podcast (linked below)

Renee DiResta: Misinformation is a 'chronic condition’

reliable sources podcast renee diresta

(CNN)The avalanche of false news that gathered speed in 2016 isn’t going away – and efforts that focus only on fixing the problem are missing the mark, one expert says.

Renee DiResta, the head of policy at Data for Democracy and director of research at New Knowledge, has studied disinformation campaigns for years. In August, she participated in a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on foreign influence on social media.

A clear-cut solution for misinformation might be appealing, but DiResta has found that it doesn’t exist.

I think we have to think of this as more of a chronic condition,” DiResta told CNN’s Brian Stelter on this week’s Reliable Sources podcast.

Propaganda and disinformation have always existed, but "the issue is that right now, we have an information ecosystem that really facilitates the amplification of that content, that facilitates it going viral," DiResta said.

Listen to the whole podcast here: (go to link)

Foreign actors, terrorists, and spammers take advantage of the internet’s fast-spreading pipeline for information. They buy bots to spread messages, amplify manufactured narratives, and post misleading memes for clicks and shares. Researchers like DiResta aim to get ahead of these forces, predict what could happen next, and act accordingly.
As the actors misuse the platforms, we’re going to be responding much like an arms race,” she said.

But it’s also the responsibility of tech companies to be transparent about when, how, and where they find what DiResta deems the “malign distribution” of content.

The New York Times this week exposed Facebook’s failure to properly deal with the early warning signs of Russian interference on the platform as leaders at the company passed off security responsibilities to others.

“To realize the extent to which they knew and how early they knew that was deeply disturbing,” DiResta told Stelter. She believes that tech companies are improving in their efforts to combat misinformation, but it’s also time for the government to step up.

“I am not advocating for the regulation of ideas,” she said. “I am advocating for oversight. I think what we saw in that article… is that self-regulation with no oversight does not work.”

The government has tried, in part, to police Big Tech. Last fall, Senators Amy Klobuchar, Mark Warner, and John McCain introduced legislation called the Honest Ads Act that would require the same disclosures for online political ads as those on TV and the radio.

Users continue to encounter extreme and false content on social sites, in part because platforms like Facebook are designed to keep people engaged. Algorithms have learned that sensationalist content maintains eyeballs – and ad dollars.

The consequences of such a system are far-reaching.

Democracy is predicated on an informed electorate,” DiResta said. "Things like misinformation, radicalization, pushing people into conspiratorial groups and then profiting from that because it drives engagement, that’s just not a viable state for the information ecosystem to be in."


T is itching for a fight (again) to take Acosta’s press pass away. Always diverting everyone.


Here are a few items that comes from a Crooked Media Newsletter…and this portion is on the media…and what right-wing media is doing.

on trump’s tivo

  1. Sinclair mandated that 200 local news outlets across the country run segments defending Border Patrol’s use of tear gas on migrants and condemning Trump’s critics. In the segment, the migrants are described as attempting an “invasion” of the U.S., which is a gross lie.

  2. According to emails obtained through a FOIA request, former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt was allowed to sign off on Fox & Friends scripts, chose interview topics, and knew the questions he would face in advance. Though pre-interviews are common among television producers and subjects, it’s generally frowned upon to conduct them with public officials, and giving them script approval is comical hackery. We shouldn’t be surprised that Fox & Friends is as embarrassing behind the scenes as it is on TV, but wow.

  3. Also on Fox: a streaming service called ‘Fox Nation,’ featuring some of the funniest looking shows on the planet.

  1. on Sinclair - pushing their 200 stations to carry news on why it is important to use tear gas.
  1. Pruitt and his air time on Fox and Friends
  1. On Fox Nation - new channel, with pro Trump news… WTF WTF WTF

wild videos


Changing his tune - Tucker Carlson of Fox Network makes some less than flattering comments re: T.

Is it the book Carlson is selling , Ship of Fools…or is there some serious writing on the wall?

Tucker Carlson says Trump is ‘not capable’ and hasn’t kept his promises



Like clockwork, T tweets his Hate tweets on the So-called Fake News tonight

And bam, there is a bomb threat tonight on CNN HQ


As Gen Kelly leaves this WH, he is giving a LOT of interviews, and reporters are straightening out some facts.

Kelly is interviewed by LA Times, NYT and Washington Post (written early Dec) I am highlighting some from each.


Kelly rejects reports that Trump bristled at the endless briefings and Kelly’s tight-fisted control of access to the Oval Office.

The stalemate also highlights the distance, at least in language, between Kelly and Trump over the president’s signature promise — to build a wall.

To be honest, it’s not a wall,” Kelly said.

Kelly faulted the administration for failing to follow procedure and failing to anticipate the public outrage for the two most controversial initiatives of his tenure: Trump’s travel ban in January 2017, and the “zero tolerance” immigration policy and family separations this year.

When Trump blamed “both sides” for the violence, Kelly seemed to hang his head in disapproval. But later he defended Confederate memorials and suggested the Civil War was not caused by slavery but inability to compromise.

In early 2018, Kelly conceded he’d mishandled the removal of Rob Porter, then-White House staff secretary, after reports emerged that two ex-wives had accused Porter of abuse.

Asked why he stayed 18 months in the White House, despite policy differences, personality clashes, the punishing schedule, and a likely lasting association with some of Trump’s controversies, he said simply: duty.

“Military people,” he said, “don’t walk away.”


Mr. Kelly has clashed with Mr. Trump over the nature of the wall before. When Mr. Kelly said earlier this year on Fox News that Mr. Trump’s views on a border wall were not “fully informed” and had “evolved,” the president was enraged and berated him.

The Wall is the Wall, it has never changed or evolved from the first day I conceived of it,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter a short time later.

But Mr. Kelly said the president never ordered him to do anything against the law, and that he would have quit if that had happened.


But the departure of Kelly — a four-star general with battlefield experience and deep government know-how — deprives the West Wing of a seasoned leader who was seen by allies as a check on some of the president’s most reckless impulses.

@evanperez (CNN)

Evan Pérez Retweeted Maggie Haberman

It’s remarkable that Kelly now admits the chaos of travel ban implementation, thanks to Stephen Miller & Co, when he previously lied to the public and press. The reporting, it turns out, was spot on. Kelly was lying.


The current theme out of some in the WH comms shop is “there’s no chaos to see in this White House,” a narrative Trump has hoped will replace the actual reporting. This Kelly interview affirms most of the real-time reporting about how it is there.

written Dec 9, 2018


WH is saying very little and not availing itself to reporter’s questions…That is the easiest way to control the narrative. Say nothing more, leaving a lot of speculation…

This is the least responsive White House press operation I’ve ever dealt with by far,” said Peter Baker, a veteran White House reporter for the New York Times and one of the co-authors of the story about Trump’s isolation. “There are certainly individuals there who are professional and try to be helpful when they can, and I appreciate their efforts, I really do. But as a whole, I’ve learned not to expect answers even to basic questions.”
Adds Baker, “I don’t know why that is. I don’t take it personally. But it’s a lost opportunity on their part to get their side of the story out.”

The White House has had no response to stories large and small in recent days: reports that Trump planned to meet with Federal Reserve chairman Jerome H. Powell, whom he has criticized (no response to Agence France-Presse); the partial shutdown of the federal government (no response to Reuters or USA Today); a report by an advocacy group that wealthy donors gave $55 million to groups supporting his reelection, despite Trump’s stated opposition to such donations during the 2016 campaign (no response to Washington Post); Trump’s statement that former secretary of state Rex Tillerson was “dumb as a rock” (no response to CNBC); a piece in the Times reporting that a podiatrist may have helped Trump dodge the draft when Trump was a young man at the height of the Vietnam War.

At the same time, the White House seems to have all but stopped explaining Trump’s bizarre tweets.


The DOJ is further Inflaming the immigration issue with false official reporting. When facts are misconstrued to support a position then authoritarianism is at play here.

It stokes further animosity and distruct of government.

Justice Dept. admits error but won’t correct report linking terrorism to immigration

Released by the departments of Justice and Homeland Security, the report stated that 402 of 549 individuals — nearly 3 in 4 — convicted of international terrorism charges since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were foreign-born.

The report was written in compliance with President Trump’s March 2017 executive orderhalting immigration from six majority-Muslim countries.

Critics immediately expressed alarm at what they considered highly misleading data presented without context. They called it an attempt to misuse law enforcement agencies to advance a political agenda in opposition to immigration, and former senior counterterrorism officials warned it could play into terrorists’ hands by fueling misperceptions about radicalization and stoking societal divides.

Several government watchdog and civil liberty groups in May sued the two agencies in two federal courts, seeking a retraction or correction under the little-known Information Quality Act. The agencies refused, and the courts stayed the lawsuits to allow time for an administrative appeal.

Link to WaPo article



A possible preview for T’s Saturday’s speech - caravans, now let’s bring up ‘prayer rugs.’ Misinformation campaign for sure…fear mongering par excellence.