Five Steps To Avoid Election Misinformation

from News Literacy Project Nothing is more fundamental to democracy than information. It’s what we use to understand which issues are most important, and to assess which policies and political candidates are best suited to address those concerns. A democracy thrives when its citizens are informed and can wither when they are misled and deceived — especially in an election year, when political messaging appears nonstop in our social-media feeds and foreign agents amp up their campaigns to divide and polarize us. As the 2020 presidential campaign heats up, here are five ways that you can protect yourself from being […]

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How Wikipedia’s Volunteers Became The Web’s Best Weapon Against Misinformation

from Fast Company For a few minutes near the end of his first presidential debate, Mike Bloomberg was dead. At 9:38 p.m. Eastern time, a Wikipedia user named DQUACK02 added some text to the Wikipedia page for the former Democratic presidential candidate and New York City mayor: “death_date   = {{Death date and age|2020|02|19|1942|02|14}}; |death_place  = [[Las Vegas, Nevada]], U.S.; |death_cause = [[Getting stabbed by Warren, Biden and Sanders]].” Within three minutes, another user named Cgmusselman had reverted the page back. By then the inevitable screenshots and joke tweets had already begun to spread. It was an obvious hoax, and […]

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Stop. Stop the Presses.

from Medium At the end of an exceptional first week for our new program in News Innovation and Leadership at the Newmark J-school, the students — five managing editors, a VP, a CEO, and many directors among them — said they learned much from teachers and speakers, yes, but the greatest value likely came from each other, from the candid lessons they all shared. When I first proposed this program about four years ago, I suggested it should offer a smorgasbord of courses to be taken at will. Then I was fortunate enough to recruit Anita Zielina, the ideal news […]

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Chinese Dissidents Feel Heat of Beijing’s Wrath. Even in Canada.

from NYTs Search for Sheng Xue on Google in English and you will find the story of an award-winning writer who left China for Canada after the Tiananmen Square uprising and became one of the world’s leading advocates for Chinese democracy. But that same search in Chinese comes up with a very different portrait: Sheng Xue is a fraud, a thief, a traitor and a serial philanderer. Want proof? It offers up salacious photos, like one seeming to show her kissing a man who is not her husband. As China extends its influence around the globe, it has mastered the […]

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Germany Is Wary of a Digital World (but Loves Its E-Toothbrushes)

from NYTs How do New York Times journalists use technology in their jobs and in their personal lives? Melissa Eddy, a Berlin correspondent for The Times, discussed the tech she’s using. What are the most important tech tools for doing your job, and how do you use them? My iPhone X has become my multipurpose portable notebook, camera, recorder and connection device. I have typed breaking stories into the Notes app and sent them to editors, or jotted down key points from an event, when I found myself without pen and paper. I’ve used the camera to record Facebook Live […]

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Brett Kavanaugh And The Information Terrorists Trying To Reshape America

from Wired SINCE THE ADVENT of Donald Trump’s candidacy, there’s been a ton of focus on botnets and sockpuppets—automated and semiautomated social media accounts that use disinformation to manipulate public opinion. But the spotlight on bots has overshadowed the importance of the people who often initiate the flood and flow of information, and how the narratives they build over time influence how we see politics, ourselves, and the world around us. Last month, the attorney of Christine Blasey Ford, the California professor who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault at a long-ago high school party, revealed […]

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For Two Months, I Got My News From Print Newspapers. Here’s What I Learned.

from NYTs I first got news of the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., via an alert on my watch. Even though I had turned off news notifications months ago, the biggest news still somehow finds a way to slip through. But for much of the next 24 hours after that alert, I heard almost nothing about the shooting. There was a lot I was glad to miss. For instance, I didn’t see the false claims— possibly amplified by propaganda bots — that the killer was a leftist, an anarchist, a member of ISIS and perhaps just one of multiple shooters. […]

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Our Hackable Political Future

from NYTs Imagine it is the spring of 2019. A bottom-feeding website, perhaps tied to Russia, “surfaces” video of a sex scene starring an 18-year-old Kirsten Gillibrand. It is soon debunked as a fake, the product of a user-friendly video application that employs generative adversarial network technology to convincingly swap out one face for another. It is the summer of 2019, and the story, predictably, has stuck around — part talk-show joke, part right-wing talking point. “It’s news,” political journalists say in their own defense. “People are talking about it. How can we not?” Then it is fall. The junior […]

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It’s The (Democracy-Poisoning) Golden Age Of Free Speech

from Wired FOR MOST OF modern history, the easiest way to block the spread of an idea was to keep it from being mechanically disseminated. Shutter the news­paper, pressure the broad­cast chief, install an official censor at the publishing house. Or, if push came to shove, hold a loaded gun to the announcer’s head. This actually happened once in Turkey. It was the spring of 1960, and a group of military officers had just seized control of the government and the national media, imposing an information blackout to suppress the coordination of any threats to their coup. But inconveniently for […]

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Tackling the Internet’s Central Villain: The Advertising Business

from NYTs Pretend you are the lead detective on a hit new show, “CSI: Terrible Stuff on the Internet.” In the first episode, you set up one of those crazy walls plastered with headlines and headshots, looking for hidden connections between everything awful that’s been happening online recently. There’s a lot of dark stuff. In one corner, you have the Russian campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election with digital propaganda. In another, a rash of repugnant videos on YouTube, with children being mock-abused, cartoon characters bizarrely committing suicide on the kids’ channel and a popular vlogger recording a body […]

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The Fake-News Fallacy

from The New Yorker On the evening of October 30, 1938, a seventy-six-year-old millworker in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey, named Bill Dock heard something terrifying on the radio. Aliens had landed just down the road, a newscaster announced, and were rampaging through the countryside. Dock grabbed his double-barrelled shotgun and went out into the night, prepared to face down the invaders. But, after investigating, as a newspaper later reported, he “didn’t see anybody he thought needed shooting.” In fact, he’d been duped by Orson Welles’s radio adaptation of “The War of the Worlds.” Structured as a breaking-news report that detailed […]

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Robert Silvers, a Founding Editor of New York Review of Books, Dies at 87

from NYTs Robert B. Silvers, a founder of The New York Review of Books, which under his editorship became one of the premier intellectual journals in the United States, a showcase for extended, thoughtful essays on literature and politics by eminent writers, died on Monday at his home in Manhattan. He was 87. Rea S. Hederman, the publisher of The Review, confirmed the death. The New York Review, founded in 1963, was born with a mission — to raise the standards of book reviewing and literary discussion in the United States and nurture a hybrid form of politico-cultural essay. Mr. […]

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Jimmy Breslin, Legendary New York City Newspaper Columnist, Dies at 88

from NYTs Jimmy Breslin, the New York City newspaper columnist and best-selling author who leveled the powerful and elevated the powerless for more than 50 years with brick-hard words and a jagged-glass wit, died on Sunday at his home in Manhattan. He was 88 and, until very recently, was still pushing somebody’s buttons with two-finger jabs at his keyboard. His death was confirmed by his wife, Ronnie Eldridge, a prominent Democratic politician in Manhattan. Mr. Breslin had been recovering from pneumonia. With prose that was savagely funny, deceptively simple and poorly imitated, Mr. Breslin created his own distinct rhythm in […]

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The Alternative Facts of Cable Companies

from Backchannel Cable companies have bad reputations for customer service, and sometimes they rename themselves to divert attention and get a fresh start. Comcast’s “Xfinity” rebranding in 2010 has now been followed by Charter’s renaming of itself—after a megamerger with Time Warner Cable last year—as “Spectrum.” But changing your name doesn’t mean that you aren’t liable for misbehavior under your previous moniker. This is what Charter…er, Spectrum… found recently when, following a lengthy investigation, New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, filed an extraordinary lawsuit against the company. Based on the company’s own documents and statements, it appears that just about everything it has […]

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For Marketers, TV Sets Are an Invaluable Pair of Eyes

from NYTs While Ellen Milz and her family were watching the Olympics last summer, their TV was watching them. Ms. Milz, 48, who lives with her husband and three children in Chicago, had agreed to be a panelist for a company called TVision Insights, which monitored her viewing habits — and whether her eyes flicked down to her phone during the commercials, whether she was smiling or frowning — through a device on top of her TV. “The marketing company said, ‘We’re going to ask you to put this device in your home, connect it to your TV and they’re […]

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What’s The Next Step For Media (And For Us)?

from Seth’s Blog Perhaps the biggest cultural change of my lifetime has been the growing influence and ubiquity of commercial media in our lives. Commercial media companies exist to make a profit, and they’ve grown that profit faster than just about any industry you can name. At first, it was the scarcity created by the FCC (a few channels) and mass markets that led the industry. Now, though, it’s a chaotic system with different rules. A system that rewards certain outputs, relentlessly, generating ever more of those outputs. The participants all believe that the ends will justify the means, all […]

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How Free Is Our Freedom Of The Press?

from TED In the US, the press has a right to publish secret information the public needs to know, protected by the First Amendment. Government surveillance has made it increasingly more dangerous for whistleblowers, the source of virtually every important story about national security since 9/11, to share information. In this concise, informative talk, Freedom of the Press Foundation co-founder and TED Fellow Trevor Timm traces the recent history of government action against individuals who expose crime and injustice and advocates for technology that can help them do it safely and anonymously. More here.

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The Evolution Of Recorded Music

from kottke The Recording Academy has produced a series of three short and breezy videos on the history of recorded music, from the wax cylinder phonograph to cassette tapes to CDs to MP3s. Interest piqued, I went to read more about the history of the CD. When developing the disc, the physical size of it was dictated by Beethoven: The two companies argued about what size, shape and technology the CD should support. It was eventually settled on a disc of 115 millimetres in diameter and 74 minutes worth of storage. Why 74 minutes? To fit Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, of course. […]

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The Ars Technica Science Fiction Bucket List—42 Movies Every Geek Must See

from ars technica Here at Ars, we’re always making lists (just like Liam Neeson). Lists of science fiction movies are a common item for discussion on the Ars staff Slack channel—particularly short lists of the best science fiction movies ever made. But “best” is an impossible word to quantify in any broadly applicable way—one person’s “best ever” might be another person’s worst, especially in a genre of movies as rich and varied as science fiction. While the Ars staff has some bitter disagreements on which movies are better than others, it’s undeniable that some science fiction movies are mandatory viewing for […]

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