Posted tagged ‘Media and “Fake News”’

FAKE NEWS: Iraqi Woman “Killed by Trump” Died Days Before Travel Ban

February 2, 2017

FAKE NEWS: Iraqi Woman “Killed by Trump” Died Days Before Travel Ban, Front Page Magazine (The Point), Daniel Greenfield, February 1, 2017

dan-rather-document-investigation

Don’t worry, Snopes and FactCheck will rate it mostly true. Dan Rather will explain that it’s the idea of the story that matters not the minor question of when the woman actually died. Brian Williams will claim that he personally tried to ferry her out of Iraq on a helicopter.

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How can you tell the media is lying? When its cameras are rolling, its keys are clicking and its presses are printing.

You may have seen this latest horrifying Trumptrocity earlier today when it was being broadcast for all it was worth.

Green-Card Holder Dies a Day After Being Prevented From Returning Home by Trump’s Order, Report Says- TIME

Detroit Son: My Mom Died Waiting In Iraq Because Of Trump – Huffington Post

An Elderly Iraqi Woman Died After Trump’s Travel Ban Barred Her From the U.S.- New York Magazine

Detroit Mother Dies in Iraq After Trump Ban Blocked Her from Returning for Medical Treatment – Democracy Now!

Report: Woman dies day after being kicked off flight due to Trump Ban – MLive.com

Detroit Green Card-Holder Dies After She’s Stopped In Trump Travel Ban – Patch.com

Detroit-area woman dies after being turned away by Trump travel ban – Detroit Metro Times

This Immigrant’s Family Was Destroyed After Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban – Bustle

This is just shocking, horrifying, unbelievable.

A former American serviceman who served in Iraq, where he was born, says his sick mother died a day after being turned away from the U.S. as a result of President Donald Trump’s executive order abruptly banning entry to travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

“I was just shocked. I had to put my mom back on the wheelchair and take her back and call the ambulance and she was very, very upset,” Hager told Fox 2 Detroit, recalling the moment they were pried apart at the terminal. “She knew right there if we send her back to the hospital she’s going to pass away — she’s not going to make it.”

Hager and his family reportedly fled Iraq during the Gulf War. After spending four years in a refugee camp, they were resettled in the U.S., Fox 2 reports. A few years later, he decided to return to his home country as an American serviceman, working with the U.S. Special Forces as an interpreter and adviser.

Did I mention unbelievable?

The leader of a mosque in Dearborn has confirmed to FOX 2 that a man who claimed his mother died in Iraq after being barred from returning to the United States under a ban instituted by President Trump this weekend, lied to FOX 2 about when her death occurred.

Imam Husham Al-Hussainy, leader of the Karbalaa Islamic Educational Center in Dearborn, says Mike Hager’s mom did not pass away this weekend after being barred from traveling to the United States. The Imam confirms that Hager’s mother died before the ban was put in place.

After the story aired on FOX 2 and was posted on FOX2Detroit.com, we received many questions about the validity of Hager’s claims that his mother died waiting to be approved to come home. FOX 2 has confirmed that his mother died five days earlier.

According to Al-Hussainy, Hager’s mother had kidney disease and was receiving treatment in Michigan – where she lived – before traveling to Iraq to visit family. The Imam said she passed away on January 22, 2017, five days before President Trump instituted the travel ban.

Don’t worry, Snopes and FactCheck will rate it mostly true. Dan Rather will explain that it’s the idea of the story that matters not the minor question of when the woman actually died. Brian Williams will claim that he personally tried to ferry her out of Iraq on a helicopter.

But if Facebook really wants to fight fake news, maybe it can start with the media. The media is the main engine of Fake News.

The Trump Dossier Puts the Deep State in Deep Doo-Doo

January 15, 2017

The Trump Dossier Puts the Deep State in Deep Doo-Doo, American ThinkerClarice Feldman, January 15, 2017

Mr. Garfinkle of Garfinkle’s New Method Hebrew School in Milwaukee used to frequently echo King Solomon’s admonition; “There’s nothing new under the sun.” I was reminded of that this week when the rapidly unfolding “scandal” of Trump’s purported dealings with Russia hit the news. It has more than a few similarities with the Dan Rather faked-up story of GW Bush’s National Guard service where an anonymous, never-found source supposedly gave Bill Burkett a demonstrably fake report and Dan Rather ran with it. This time a Bush (Jeb) is involved but as an instigator of the story, not a victim. John McCain acts as the intermediary passing the junk on to the Intelligence Community, which makes sure it is published.

If you’re confused about it, let me put it in the context of the most reliable information I’ve been able to put together, noting that I think the story is likely to become even more clear over the next few days. As you will see, the dossier is so ridiculous, if anyone in the Intelligence Community fell for it, he’s too stupid to allow in place, and if no one did but they still played a role in publicizing it, everyone involved needs to be fired

A. Digging Up Dirt on Opponents

In September of 2015 someone — now revealed as a Jeb Bush Super PAC donor — paid  Fusion GPS, a Washington, D.C. outfit, to compile a dossier of dirt on Donald Trump. Fusion engaged Christopher Steele, a former MI-6 agent in London, to do the job. While early accounts of the story refer to him as a “respected source”, he has a history of dumpster diving for Democrats.

Kimberley Strassel at the Wall Street Journal has been reporting on his work for some time and explains why he keeps getting hired: “to gin up the ugliest, most scurrilous claims, and then trust the click-hungry media to disseminate them. No matter how false the allegations, the subject of the attack is required to respond, wasting precious time and losing credibility.”

Steele hadn’t been in Russia for decades and as a former British spy could not have done the work himself. So, as the account in the New York Times continues, “he hired native Russian speakers to call informants inside Russia and made surreptitious contact with his own connections in the country as well.”

Beginning in June and until December Steele delivered his findings — a series of short memos — to GPS. Although post-election no one was paying, Steele continued on this muckraking operation,

The memos suggested that the Russians were trying to influence Trump and stated that one of Trump’s lawyers, Michael Cohen, had met with a Russian official in Prague. (A claim Cohen has credibly rebutted.)

Word of the dossier made it to the FBI via Senator John McCain, a man with an apparently insatiable desire to betray.  McCain, who heard about the dossier from a former diplomatic colleague of Tony Blair (Sir Andrew Wood), dispatched someone (apparently former State Department official David J. Kramer) to London to pick it up, then handed it off to the FBI.

From sources as yet unknown, news of the Steele report made it to journalists who investigated and finding no verification after investigating refused to print it.

The FBI, tried to get permission to tap into a server in the Trump Tower, which was denied, then in a strangely odd act tried twice to get a warrant from FISA to tap into it. Whether this was in response to the dossier, I do not know.  Andrew McCarthy writes in National Review Online:

To summarize, it appears there were no grounds for a criminal investigation of banking violations against Trump. Presumably based on the fact that the bank or banks at issue were Russian, the Justice Department and the FBI decided to continue investigating on national-security grounds. A FISA application in which Trump was “named” was rejected by the FISA court as overbroad, notwithstanding that the FISA court usually looks kindly on government surveillance requests. A second, more narrow application, apparently not naming Trump, may have been granted five months later; the best the media can say about it, however, is that the server on which the application centers is “possibly” related to the Trump campaign’s “alleged” links to two Russian banks — under circumstances in which the FBI has previously found no “nefarious purpose” in some (undescribed) connection between Trump Tower and at least one Russian bank (whose connection to Putin’s regime is not described). That is tissue-thin indeed. It’s a good example of why investigations properly proceed in secret and are not publicly announced unless and until the government is ready to put its money where its mouth is by charging someone. It’s a good example of why FISA surveillance is done in secret and its results are virtually never publicized — the problem is not just the possibility of tipping off the hostile foreign power; there is also the potential of tainting U.S. persons who may have done nothing wrong. While it’s too early to say for sure, it may also be an example of what I thought would never actually happen: the government pretextually using its national-security authority to continue a criminal investigation after determining it lacked evidence of crimes.

The second thrust of the Steele “investigative” report suggested Trump had engaged in some scatological conduct while in Russia, hiring prostitutes to urinate on the bed the Obamas had used there.

These claims were not only unverifiable, they were ludicrous as well, as was the Intelligence Community’s justification for giving them one second’s worth of credence.

As Iowahawk tweeted: “Unconfirmed Denial of Unsourced Blockbuster Allegations Raises Questions, According To Insiders Who Requested Anonymity.”

At American Digest, Gerard Vanderleun explains precisely why:

1) An international business man who has spent decades in the rough and tumble world of real estate development and skyscraper construction and may be presumed to have some sophistication when it comes to wheeling and dealing with governments of all sorts throughout the world travels to

2) Moscow. Not Moscow, Idaho, but Moscow in Russia. That would be Moscow the capital of one of the most paranoid and intrusive governments in the world (Both now and for the 19th and 20th centuries). It is a society and a government with a long history of…

3) Secret police and the clandestine surveillance of its own citizens and visitors to the extent that the US was digging bugs out of the walls of its own embassy in Moscow for decades. When he gets to Moscow he stays at…

4) The Moscow Ritz-Carlton in the “Presidential Suite.” Since such accommodations are typically only taken by the filthy rich and/or representatives of foreign governments such as, say, presidents. And then this sophisticated and reasonably intelligent billionaire real estate developer…

5) Assumes that such a suite in such a capitol city of such a government has no surveillance equipment at all installed in its rooms, bathrooms, closets, and — most importantly — bedrooms. He then asks the hotel staff to show him…

6) The bed in which Barack Obama and his wife slept in when they were in this same “Presidential Suite.” Upon being shown the bed our businessman then…

7) Contacts two high-dollar Russian hookers (who would never, ever, have anything to do with the KGB or other intelligence organs of Russia) and instructs them to…. Wait for it….

8) Urinate on said bed in order to give said businessman some odd sort of thrill and…

9) Said businessman remains utterly positive no agency of the Russian state is running cameras and microphones from every possible angle in the master bedroom in a “Presidential Suite” in a top hotel in the capital of Russia and…

10) The two damp hookers will never, ever, reveal a word about their golden shower in the Ritz Carleton’s “Presidential Suite.”

While I know that millions of morons are nodding like the drinking bird over the glass in their deep and abiding belief in this overflowing crock, I still find it hard to believe that there are smart people out there that really are this stupid. But of course they are not that stupid, not the smart ones. Instead they know this is a crock and yet they find they must drink from it lest their #NeverTrump fantasy world dissolve.

Sad. Their repetitive manic desperation now has foam flecking their lips and jowls as they dive down deep, and not for the last time, into this fuming septic tank of their own political sewage. Without even a snorkel. If they ever get out of the tank they will need a long, long golden shower

B. The Intelligence Community Peddles the Dirt (then feigns dismay that it makes its way into the press).

Among the morons apparently “drinking this up” besides John McCain were high officials in the Intelligence Community, which passed the rumors on to the president and key congressional staff, although — despite conflicting reports about this — apparently never shared it with president-elect Trump. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper claimed to have been “dismayed” that this leaked out after having passed it on. He claimed as well that the Intelligence Community “hadn’t made any judgment on whether the claims within the document were reliable”

As my online friend Cecil Turner observes:  “Former U.S. intelligence officials described the inclusion of the summary — drawn from ‘opposition research’ done by a political research firm — as highly unusual.

“Assuming, of course, that it is. The problem with this sort of thing is that it’s on the borderline between unknown and unknowable. Every character involved is either anonymous or has a name that sounds pseudonymous, and the sources are professional liars.

“Roll eyes, wait for actual evidence. The fact that it leaked strongly suggests there is none.”

CNN, however, lapped it up, informed its readers of the existence of scandalous reports on Trump, and BuzzFeed, a clickbait site owned in part by NBC, then published the dossier, a portion of which, it seems, was provided by infonerd bulletin board 4 Chan.

Asked why it had published an account of this nonsense which other news agencies had refused to print because it was completely unverifiable, CNN blamed BuzzFeed, noting it had not released the details, presumably on the assumption that readers whose curiosity had been piqued by the news wouldn’t want details.

Steele has gone to ground ostensibly because he fears Russian reprisals, but I think it’s because he wants to avoid answering questions about what are obviously fabrications to satisfy political interests who paid for this shoddy product.

As John Bolton commented:

Kassam asked if Bolton had ever heard of the man revealed as the creator of the dossier, former British MI6 officer Christopher Steele. “Could it be the case that somebody has just paid this guy to write these things, so this leak came out?” Kassam asked.

“Well, actually, that thought occurred to me because it’s so bad. I haven’t found anybody, including friends who are experienced in both diplomacy and military and intelligence affairs, who haven’t just laughed at most of it,” Bolton replied.

“It’s filled with anonymous sources, single-source information and whatnot. If I were a corporate customer, and I wanted, in effect, a private investigator — I think that’s what this firm basically is — and I got something back like this, I would refuse to pay. You or I could sit down at a computer right now and type out these 35 pages, just let our imaginations run wild, and if somebody would pay for it, I suppose it’s nice work if you can get it,” he said.

c. Is it Just IC Incompetence or is the Deep State Deliberately Undermining Faith in Trump and Aiding a Russian Disinformation Campaign?

Glenn Greenwald (hardly a Trump fan) thinks it’s more, and on examination of the Intelligence Community’s handling of this tripe, it’s hard to disagree with him. He points out the unprecedented support for Hillary Clinton in this “deep state,” and takes issue with their advancing the Steele memos

…the Deep State unleashed its tawdriest and most aggressive assault yet on Trump: vesting credibility in and then causing the public disclosure of a completely unvetted and unverified document, compiled by a paid, anonymous operative while he was working for both GOP and Democratic opponents of Trump, accusing Trump of a wide range of crimes, corrupt acts, and salacious private conduct. The reaction to all of this illustrates that while the Trump presidency poses grave dangers, so, too, do those who are increasingly unhinged in their flailing, slapdash, and destructive attempts to undermine it.

[snip]

Once CNN strongly hinted at these allegations, it left it to the public imagination to conjure up the dirt Russia allegedly had to blackmail and control Trump. By publishing these accusations, BuzzFeed ended that speculation. More importantly, it allowed everyone to see how dubious this document is, one the CIA and CNN had elevated into some sort of grave national security threat.

ALMOST IMMEDIATELY AFTER it was published, the farcical nature of the “dossier” manifested. Not only was its author anonymous, but he was paid by Democrats (and, before that, by Trump’s GOP adversaries) to dig up dirt on Trump. Worse, he himself cited no evidence of any kind but instead relied on a string of other anonymous people in Russia he claims told him these things. Worse still, the document was filled with amateur errors.

David Goldman, who did support Trump, was more succinct: “Warning the intelligence communities about salacious and politically motivated leaks: the president-elect threatened to drag their shenanigans into the daylight. No one has ever done that to the spooks before. I’m lovin’ it.”

In any event, McCain’s much-touted hearings on Russian interference with the election should prove to be a million laughs.  He obviously believed this nonsense was credible enough to seek it out and pass it on, so I hardly imagine he’s in a position to make credible calls on what the hearings involving these now discredited documents reveal or on  the wisdom and good faith  of the officials involved in leaking them.

 

 

Obama’s White House, 2009: ‘Don’t Pretend’ Fox News Is a ‘Legitimate News Organization’

January 12, 2017

Obama’s White House, 2009: ‘Don’t Pretend’ Fox News Is a ‘Legitimate News Organization’, PJ MediaDavid Steinberg, January 11, 2017

trumpnewsconfPresident-elect Donald Trump speaks during a news conference, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017, in New York. The news conference was his first as President-elect. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Now, here’s a more insightful take: since Obama’s done it since it his first year in office; since Obama went two entire terms without taking more than a handful of questions from any center-right outlet, never mind singling out just one; and since not being one of the lucky dozen or so people out of 300 million Americans who gets to ask the president-elect a question does not infer that your rights have been violated . . . .

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Donald Trump refused to take a question from CNN reporter Jim Acosta today, labeling Acosta’s employer as “fake news.” Since then, mainstream media and celebrities are hyperventilating over Trump as if he bears the same viciously totalitarian impulses as, say, Fidel Castro — and that Trump is SCARY and GOING TO GET THEM.

As comforting as tweeting one’s victimhood status to millions appears to be to today’s left — and as ironic as exercising one’s free speech to millions via Twitter to claim the death of the First Amendment is to everyone else — this reactionary response sure doesn’t look good for the left in terms of ideological consistency.

Or sanity. For example, here’s one-percenter Patton Oswalt, who I’ll assume is tweeting from an in-home hyperbaric chamber:

Did the New York Times fear freedom of the press had been eradicated? No, the headline was simply that “Fox’s Volley With Obama” was … “Intensifying.”

Ironically, current CNN host and Trump critic Brian Stelter wrote the article. It begins:

Attacking the news media is a time-honored White House tactic but to an unusual degree, the Obama administration has narrowed its sights to one specific organization, the Fox News Channel, calling it, in essence, part of the political opposition.

We’re going to treat them the way we would treat an opponent,” said Anita Dunn, the White House communications director, in a telephone interview on Sunday. “As they are undertaking a war against Barack Obama and the White House, we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.”

In 2009, the White House’s position on Fox News was that it was “an opponent,” at “war(!)” with the White House. And that they were not, in fact, a legitimate news organization.

They were to be treated as fake news. It was White House policy.

Here’s Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post:

John Harwood of NBC:

Mother Jones:

Media Matters:

Here’s George Takei:

Now, here’s a more insightful take: since Obama’s done it since it his first year in office; since Obama went two entire terms without taking more than a handful of questions from any center-right outlet, never mind singling out just one; and since not being one of the lucky dozen or so people out of 300 million Americans who gets to ask the president-elect a question does not infer that your rights have been violated, this tweeter brings some sanity whether you’re a Trump supporter or not:

Much better.

Fake News

December 17, 2016

Fake News, Bill Whittle.com Via YouTube, December 16, 2016

The New War on Conservative Media

November 22, 2016

The New War on Conservative Media, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, November 22, 2016

conservativemedia

Remember when Hillary Clinton won a landslide victory? The fake news media which predicted it in order to depress pro-Trump voter turnout certainly does. And so they’re out to fight “fake news.”

By fake news, they don’t mean their own raging torrent of misinformation and lies.

The media has gone to war against Facebook. While various supporters have blamed Hillary’s loss on everything from the FBI to internalized misogyny, the media has decided that Facebook is to blame.

Why Facebook?

Cable news is dying. Newspapers struggle online and offline. The mainstream media’s profitability lives and dies by social media. But the essence of social media is that it allows communities to shape what they see. That’s a terrifying idea if you’re a media conglomerate that depends on its megaphone.

But it’s also scary if you’re a leftist running for office in a country that doesn’t agree with your views.

Obama blamed “messaging” for the election results. But messaging requires being able to reach people. And that means clearing competitive voices out of the social media space by banning conservatives.

The war on conservative media is being conducted under the guise of banishing “fake news” from Facebook. But the fake news devil is in the details. Fake news can mean satire sites like the Onion or the Daily Currant. It can mean foreign clickbait sites that invent fake news. But it can also mean sites from outside the mainstream media whose stories are contested by the left for partisan reason.

The war on fake news is a smoke screen for a campaign against conservative media. And it’s easy to see that it’s conservative sites that are the real target of the Facebook book burners.

Buzzfeed, which depends heavily on Facebook traffic , has fed the “fake news” hysteria. Its list of “fake news” sites includes “hyperpartisan” sites. Its story contrasting “legitimate” mainstream media outlets, a category that somehow includes the Huffington Post, with a variety of right-leaning sites is a major piece of supporting evidence used in the fake news crusade.

Considering BuzzFeed’s history of fake news stories that fit its political narrative, it has no credibility fact checking anyone else. Examinations of BuzzFeed’s own methodology for its fake news article tore it into tiny little shreds. Its claim that fake news outperformed real news turned out to be… fake.

But what’s more important is how quickly the goal posts have been moved from fake news to conservative news, from fraudulent sites to fighting “clickbait” or “hyperpartisan” sites. And it’s clear that these are largely a euphemism for sites on the right that are outperforming the media.

USA Today and the Los Angeles Times promoted a list of “fake news” sites that included a variety of mainstream conservative sites including RedState, IJR and the Blaze. BuzzFeed targeted RightWingNews.

Fake news, like fact checking, has very obviously become a euphemism for attacking the politics that the left disagrees with by dressing up partisan agendas in fake concerns about journalism and civic virtue.

This goes far beyond namecalling. The goal is to ban conservative sites from social media. Or at least to penalize them in ways that will make it difficult for them to compete with the mainstream media.

There are obvious ideological and financial motives behind this war on “fake news”. The financial motives are grossly blatant. The loudest media voices in this war, BuzzFeed, HuffPo and Vox, depend heavily on social media traffic for their own hyperpartisan factually challenged clickbait.

If anyone is in the business of purveying fake news, it’s this bunch of hoax clickbait sites.

Vox claimed that everyone in Boulder, Colorado had 102 toilets and that there was a giant bridge connecting Gaza and the West Bank. But somehow that doesn’t qualify as fake news.

Then in a further demonstration of how the war on “fake news” was itself fake news, media outlets ran stories headlined, “Fake news threatens democracy, Obama says” from USA Today, “Obama, With Angela Merkel in Berlin, Assails Spread of Fake News “ from the New York Times and “Barack Obama: Fake News On Facebook Hurts Democracy” from the Huffington Post.

But Obama hadn’t said anything about the media’s fake news crusade. He had specifically complained aboutthe way that the United States and Russia were being equated and objected to “misinformation” on television and Facebook that made both countries seem just as bad. The German context of his remarks strongly suggests that he was talking about the old NSA controversy. But the “fake news” crusaders briefly quoted him before recapping the same old attacks on “fake news”.

The irony was that their “fake news” war was being waged with very fake news.

This isn’t about the integrity of information. No one can look at the fake polls promising a Hillary win and believe that the media is concerned about “fake news”. Instead it’s trying to clear out competitors by bullying Facebook into banning or marginalizing news stories from the right that compete with theirs.

The outrage over Hillary’s loss is being monetized by left-wing clickbait outlets into a pressure campaign against Facebook. Google News has already partly folded by rolling in the media’s fake fact checks. Twitter went full social justice a while back. But Facebook is the biggest prize. Nearly half of Americans get their news through Facebook. Shape its feed and the narrative gets more power than ever.

Social media allows people to form their own communities and become their own gatekeepers. That’s a potent power. The crusade against fake news is about putting the media gatekeepers back in charge.

There’s no question that there is a lot of garbage circulating on social media, but just as much of it comes from Vox, Slate, the Huffington Post or even more mainstream media outlets, as from “fake news” sites. The mainstream media is hyperpartisan, its headlines are clickbait and while it’s eager to fact check political opponents, it doesn’t make much effort to fact check its own narratives.

The whole “fake news” crusade managed to show how true that was all over again.

The internet can be empowering when it liberates users to find their own answers. The media’s fake news outrage insists that it should be the only ones empowered to supply those answers. But, in the old hacker credo, information wants to be free. The media has been struggling and failing to dam the flow.

Banning conservative news from Facebook won’t create a safe space for media lies. Instead it will lead to an exodus of conservatives from Facebook. Just as conservatives left behind the media for the web.

The evolution of clickbait and hyperpartisan journalism was a media response to the collapse of its central authority. But the media is panicking because its tactics can be copied and imitated by anyone. If it’s become hard to tell fake news from real news, it’s because the media dived headfirst into the fake news business. It chooses narratives, shapes stories around them and lies constantly.

That’s not just a conservative critique. Take it from Obama’s own people.

“We created an echo chamber,” Ben Rhodes, the Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications, boasted. “They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.”

“The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns,” he said. “They literally know nothing.”

Rhodes was talking about the Iran Deal and how easy it was to convince the media to repeat back White House lies. The media lied to Americans. Its fake news outlets continue to cheerfully talk up the disaster while demanding that dissenters be purged from Facebook. That’s where fake news really comes from.

If the media really wants to fight fake news, it can start in its own studios and offices. Its crusade to clear space for its fake news by banning conservative sites cannot and will not succeed.