Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Facts and Lies: as suspenseful and unpredictable as ever

Labour Scarcity and Labour Coercion: Serfdom in Bohemia

Institutions are widely viewed as a fundamental cause of economic performance. But what are the causes of institutions?

"How the courts help companies keep sexual misconduct under cover: Women sexually harassed on the job sometimes decide to hold their abusers -- and their employers -- accountable in court; But quite often, judges let companies keep their secrets." Dan Levine, Benjamin Lesser, and Renee Dudley of Reuters have this report 

Josh Constine on Twitter  about modern institution on steroids called UBER: "Our Uber driver in Bangkok suddenly ...
Our Uber driver in Bangkok suddenly stopped on the side of the road to piss on the steps of the subway and smoke a cigarette. We're in the car flabbergasted. Fun times! 10:20 PM - 14 Jan 2018 from Rong Mueang, Thailand. 27 Likes; Pierre-Olivier G. Pete Conor L. Myhrvold Alireza the “&” TomaszKol Satnam Narang ...

AUSSIE COMPLAINTS ON CLINTON FOUNDATION CORRUPTION GO TO FBI: Australian taxpayers have sent multi-millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation since 2006, and it appears the charity conducted business in much the same highly questionable ways Down Under as it has here in the U.S. Michael Smith is a retired Aussie detective and a popular radio talk show host. He’s also a demon on digging through documents and finding astonishing facts and data. FYI: Australia is far from the only foreign country in which serious troubles are brewing for the Clintons.

Murdoch's ex a Chinese agent...

You can't quite imagine reading  this saga in The Wall Street Journal while owner Rupert Murdoch was still married to Wendi Deng Murdoch, with whom he broke up amid his reported belief that she'd carried on with others, notably former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. In case you're late to this tabloid delight, Vanity Fair detailed it all here in 2014.

But, yes, the notion of her as handmaiden to the totalitarians in Beijing is now found in The Journal.

"U.S. counterintelligence officials in early 2017 warned Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, that Wendi Deng Murdoch, a prominent Chinese-American businesswoman, could be using her close friendship with Mr. Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, to further the interests of the Chinese government, according to people familiar with the matter."

This all tuns on a planned $100 million Chinese garden at the National Arboretum. It was deemed a security risk "because it included a 70-foot-tall white tower that could potentially be used for surveillance." Yes, surveillance in a garden "planned on one of the higher patches of land near downtown Washington, less than 5 miles from both the Capitol and the White House."
Yes, this Kushner-Murdoch tale may actually divert your attention from the adjacent saga, "Platinum, Clinging to its Status as a Top Precious Metal, Faces a Crisis."

Couples therapy for Facebook and the fact-checkers

It’s been a rocky year or so for Facebook’s and fact-checkers' efforts to combat fake news on the platform. The Buzzsumo-crunching Craig Silverman found in December that engagement for major fake news stories was doing just great, thank you very much. Academics Guess, Nyhan and Reifler determined Facebook is by far the key referrer to fake news websites.

But there may be a light in the end of the tunnel: At an IFCN-brokered meeting in Menlo Park on Feb. 6, Facebook product manager Tessa Lyons promises to discuss data that will help “understand the actual impact and results of the partnership.” We’ll see.

Research you can use


  • A photo intern at the Tampa Bay Times recounts what it was like to see one of her photos used for a viral hoax about DACA recipients.
  • This is how a fake-news site works during a breaking news story.
  • Swedish officials worry about how fake news will impact the country's 2018 elections.  

This is fun

Comedian Steven Colbert is promoting President Trump's "fake news awards" with full-page advertisements. (Meanwhile, an attorney warns that White House officials could get into legal trouble if they help Trump with his "contest.")

Coming up

  • Global Fact V deadline is now Feb 14, not Feb 28. Sign up here.
  • Want to turn your own big idea into reality? The IFCN is putting $50,000 towards paradigm-shifting innovations in fact-checking.
  • In case you didn't notice, we redesigned this newsletter for the new year. Love it? Hate it? Let us know what you think.

Quick fact-checking links

Binge-watch these examples of video fact-checking around the world.  //  The Boston Globe has Facebook's fake news problem on its list of New Year’s resolutions.  //  Facebook is funding two news literacy projects in Brazil ahead of this year’s elections.  //  Why Twitter polls should have warning labels.  //  Pic Pedant can’t stop, won’t stop.  //  Politico has a pro and con debate over the French president’s proposed laws on misinformation.  //  PolitiFact wrote a fact-checkers' guide to Michael Wolff's "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House."  //  Trump blocked this reporter on Twitter for fact-checking him, but that's okay.

An analysis by BuzzFeed News shows that the 50 most viral fake stories of 2017 had more engagement than 2016's top 50 list — despite Facebook's partnership with fact-checkers. Disconcertingly, corresponding fact checks had only 0.5 percent of the Facebook engagement generated by hoaxes. But, some good news, maybe: This study found that falsified stories constitute a relatively small portion of news consumers' media diet, which still consists mostly of hard news.

"Journalism is not a perfect exercise. It’s a human endeavor, so we will make mistakes. But if you’re not willing to be honest about it and transparent about it, then I think the people who are trying to brand real journalism as fake news are given a leg up, because they can say, see, they made this mistake and they won’t say anything about it." — Craig Silverman of BuzzFeed News on PBS Newshour.

Fact-checking highlights of the year
The IFCN recognized the 10 most noteworthy people and stories in fact-checking of the past year. Journalists from organizations including Africa Check, PolitiFact, La Silla Vacía and First Draft rounded out the list. And in case you missed it, here's what to expect from fact-checking in 2018.

Gaming Google's ad structure
Climate change deniers are taking advantage of Google's advertising business to surface false or misleading claims high up in search results, The New York Times reported. And since users' ads are tailored based on their search history, only some groups of people will see them.

Live fact-checking for the State of the Union?
That's the goal of the Duke Reporters' Lab Tech & Check Cooperative, which Nieman Lab reported is working on an automated fact-checking app.

News literacy and the law
During the 2018 legislative season, state lawmakers around the U.S. are proposing bills mandating courses that would help students learn how to do their own online fact-checking and choose reliable news sources.

The most 'sickening' lies of 2017
Fact-less stories about the four U.S. troops killed in Niger in October topped Vice's list of "The 10 most toxic pieces of fake news in 2017." Other nominees included stories about Melania Trump's "body double" and global warming. Here's the full list.

If 'fake news' is a drug, what's the cure? 
Author and futurist Amy Webb tells Mother Jones there's a "strong case" to be made for the addictive powers of misinformation and propaganda. “When you’re seeing your angers and fears and anxieties being validated externally, you get a shot of dopamine,” she says.

Fact-checking 'The Crown'
While some people binge-watch the popular Netflix series "The Crown," Mike Rosenwald of The Washington Post is binge-checking the historical facts. Read his assessment in the Post's history blog, Retropolis.

Stop us if you've heard this
It's the "end of facts." You should "give up on facts." The "alternative facts" and the facts that "don't change our minds." In a long read that's worth your time, Slate columnist Daniel Engbar tells us not to believe any of those statements and offers some compelling reasons.

Quick fact-checking links
(1) Chequeado got busy in 2017. (2) Spotify is now including fact checks in its advertising. (3) Heads up: The deadline for expressing interest in Global Fact 5 is now Feb. 14. (4) Media Matters for America named Mark Zuckerberg 2017's Misinformer of the Year. (5) Full Fact in the United Kingdom is hiring an editor, fact-checkers and a fundraising manager. (6) Heed these lessons in Kenyan fact-checking. (7) The Toronto Star analyzes its year of fact-checking all of Trump’s statements, a feat performed by reporter Daniel Dale. 8) Here's why fact-checkers should consider using GIFs to distribute fact checks. (9) Meet the behind-the-scenes fact-checkers at The New York Times. (10) Yale holds a hackathon on misinfo. (11) Stay tuned for the Pope's message on fake news. (12) Here's the BBC's video tutorial on spotting hoaxes.

via   Alexios