About That Echo Chamber: Combatting Bots, Propaganda & Fake News

One of the thorniest problems bedeviling our unraveling democracy is the distortion of reality–intentional and unintentional– provided via the Internet. That distortion is immensely aided by our tendency to live in echo chambers populated by friends who think like we do. Most of us trust links from friends – a vulnerability exploited by phishing sites and other forms of online […]

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The Technology of Propaganda, Fake News & Information Warfare

The Technology of Propaganda, Fake News & Information Warfare

Well, this is pretty terrifying. My oldest son recently sent me a link to an article from an online magazine called Paste. I had never heard of the publication; it seems, after a cursory investigation, to be credible. The title was “How the Trump-Russia Data Machine Games Google to Fool Americans.” The author identified himself as a former member of an online marketing team. […]

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Premature Celebration: Comey’s Trump Investigation Comments

Donald Trump and James Comey spar over the Russia investigation

While conservatives (including the White House) celebrated James Comey’s testimony as a vindication of the administration’s ongoing claim that Donald Trump is not personally the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation, today’s Senate Intelligence Committee hearing offered a much different and more vital piece of information being overlooked among conservative pundits. While Donald Trump may not have been personally the subject of any […]

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott “Jokes” About Shooting Journalists

Greg Abbott jokes about shooting reporters

Two days after Montana Republican Greg Gianforte reportedly assaulted Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs for asking about the CBO score on the deeply unpopular AHCA, Texas Governor Greg Abbott “joked” about shooting reporters. Holding a gun range target, Abbott spoke to press and observers about legislation he just signed into law significantly lowering the fee to obtain a gun in Texas. “I’m […]

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AUDIO: MT GOP Candidate Greg Gianforte Body-Slammed Reporter [UPDATED]

Gop Candidate Greg Gianforte reportedly body slammed Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs

On the eve of the Montana special election to fill its open congressional seat, GOP candidate Greg Gianforte allegedly body slammed Ben Jacobs – a reporter at The Guardian. According to Jacobs, “Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses.” He added, “There was a local TV crew there when Gianforte body slammed me. Audio is posting soon at @GuardianUS.” Buzzfeed reporter Alexis […]

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Trump Effect: KY Gov. Bevin’s Anti-Journalist Media Policy

Matt Bevin

Following in the footsteps of the man who ran a campaign based on maligning the Fourth Estate, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin spent the last few weeks shutting out major news agencies while using social media to reach state residents. His media policy shares parallels with Vice President and former Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s similar 2015 ploy to create a state-run media establishment. The Courier-Journal […]

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Comey Memo: Trump’s Attack on Journalists & Free Press

Trump attacks free press, journalists and journalism in general

One of the lesser reported items from the alleged James Comey memo following his and Donald Trump’s mid-February conversation relates to a discussion about jailing journalists for publishing leaked information. In their original reporting on the memo, the New York Times noted that after asking Vice President Mike Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to leave the room, Trump both discussed the investigation of […]

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Spicer’s Post-Yates Flynn Explanation Makes No Sense

Sally Yates, Sean Spicer and Michael Flynn

Throughout his daily briefing today, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer went to great lengths to portray Sally Yates as a partisan that couldn’t be trusted. Moreover, despite adding information to the Michael Flynn timeline, Spicer couldn’t legitimately account for at least 11 days between when the White House allegedly reviewed evidence of Flynn’s lies and problematic “underlying conduct” and when Flynn resigned from his position as […]

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Network Ad Refusal: Trump Has No Clue How Free Speech Works

The Trump 2020 campaign ad calling mSM fake news was rejected by several networks - but that does not make it a free speech or First Amendment issue

In a statement released by the Trump 2020 campaign this afternoon, Donald Trump argued that media outlets’ ongoing refusal to accept his “First 100 Days” self-congratulatory ad infringes on his First Amendment free speech rights. In reality, privately-owned media companies are under no legal obligation to accept political advertisements. Moreover, the First Amendment’s free speech provisions apply only to government censorship of speech. […]

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Separation of Powers: Trump’s Loose Grasp of Basic Civics

Donald Trump and civics - civic ignorance is dangerous

Following a U.S. District judge’s decision to block his controversial sanctuary cities executive order, Donald Trump (and many of his surrogates, supporters and right-wing media mouthpieces) lashed out questioning the very constitutional foundations that keep government power in check. His criticism is the latest in a long line of commentary aimed at delegitimizing the constitutional role of the Judiciary. Trump’s Reaction “First the Ninth Circuit rules […]

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