Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Where "Fake News" Meets Real News
by ROGER ARONOFF
With the media in disarray, even in meltdown, over their failure to prevent Donald Trump from winning the presidency last month, the issue of "fake news" has become an urgent concern. What is really of greater concern? Fake websites that are established to make money and discredit their political opponents? Or is it the establishment media that are pushing a political agenda, while claiming to adhere to high standards of journalism?
An armed man recently traveled from North Carolina to search for sexually exploited minors at a pizza shop in Washington, DC-he had been taken in by a phony Internet conspiracy theory known as PizzaGate . This incident has fed the so-called mainstream media with additional reasons to publish stories highlighting the dangers of fake news and online conspiracies.
However, as the creators of fake news are exposed, it becomes clear that these sites are often motivated by making money-while mainstream media organizations use fake news as a means of furthering the Obama administration and the "progressive" agenda.
Georgian citizen Beqa Latsabidze "was savvy enough to change course when he realized what did drive traffic: laudatory stories about Donald J. Trump that mixed real-and completely fake-news in a stew of anti-Clinton fervor," reported  The New York Times on November 25. "Mr. Latsabidze said his only incentive was to make money from Google ads by luring people off Facebook pages and onto his websites," it reported. Ironically, Latsabidze found that he wasn't able to make any money publishing "gushing" stories about Hillary Clinton.
Another fake news writer, Jestin Coler, met with MSNBC News to detail his exploits.
"And lately there's been a lot of coverage in the real news about the growing and booming business of creating fake news," said  Brian Williams on his December 5 show, "The 11th Hour with Brian Williams." Coler helped organize the dissemination of a fake news story on the "Denver Guardian" about an FBI agent murder-suicide : "FBI Agent Suspected In Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead In Apparent Murder-Suicide."
"This is one that I would probably take back," Coler told MSNBC. "And even, to kind of add to that, Google closed all the accounts that were running on the site, so even that money is gone." Coler, the fake news propagator, admitted to MSNBC that he's a Hillary Clinton supporter, and in fact voted for her.
In an interview with NPR , Coler wouldn't cite exact numbers, but said that his fake news grossed similarly to others making $10,000 to $30,000 a month.
Yet, despite the lucrative business, Coler claims that he created these stories to undermine the so-called alt-right and Trump supporters. "The whole idea from the start was to build a site that could infiltrate the echo chambers of the alt-right, publish blatantly false or fictional stories and then be able to publicly denounce those stories and point out the fact that they were fiction," he told NPR. As for Trump, "His whole campaign was this thing of discrediting mainstream media sources, which is one of those dog whistles to his supporters...He knew who his base was. He knew how to feed them a constant diet of this red meat." It should be noted that Coler started working on this back in 2013.
The mainstream media's fascination with exposing fake news writers such as Coler revolves around the desire to prove that their own reporting is above reproach, and should be trusted. A Gallup poll shows that current trust in the media is hovering at 32 percent , and bottoming out at 14 percent among Republicans.
It's not as if readers don't have reasons to distrust the media. Brian Williams' broadcast regarding the fake news industry was an exercise in irony, and just shows what's wrong with mainstream reporting today. He is, in effect, the recent "godfather" of fake news, having spread false tales for years about his alleged adventure in Iraq in a Chinook helicopter under fire . Actually, Breitbart has documented  more than 30 examples of Williams telling lies or disputed stories. So when he is introducing a story about fake news, do he and his producers think we've all forgotten what got him suspended last year?
As we recently reported , the media continue to provide false and misleading reports about Obama's Iran deal, which is not an actual deal but merely a set of political commitments. Yet most major newspapers and TV networks continue to report that the Iran deal is "signed," which it isn't.
We've also documented  how fake news has allowed President Obama to claim success in everything from fixing the economy, to improving healthcare, to making the world a more peaceful place, to having a scandal-free eight years as president. His actual record, in each case, is quite different.
The reason that the media continue to obsess over fake news stories is that when viewed in contrast, they appear more credible at a time when their public credibility is in short supply. Generally, the fake news stories they are now reporting about are easy to detect. But if the news media continue to publish stories that mislead the public, then they are no better than the online peddlers of fake news, and more of a threat to the marketplace of ideas.
David Harsanyi of The Federalist explained why the left is pushing this issue of fake news so hard. He wrote , "Now that Democrats have sort of moved on from blaming the Electoral College  and James Comey  and the Russians, they're absolutely convinced that ‘fake news' turned the election against Hillary Clinton (although it's still a mystery why they lost more than 1,000 other seats since Obamacare was passed)."
Pamela Geller, the president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), writing for Breitbart , has an even harsher assessment of what the left is up to: "I always understood that the objective was to taint the conservative news-sphere. Sites were created to spread disinformation and shame the right-wingers who jumped on it. This is classic disinformation. It's always games, games, games...from the people who brought you Soros' rent-a-mob-rioting, looting and destruction in cities, etc. even going so far as to risk a few deaths all for the cause. But what I didn't see coming is their ultimate goal: the shut-down of free speech. The left wants to crush free speech, which has been in their cross-hairs for some time now."
Geller asks, "If a blogger or news writer gets a story wrong, does that designate him or her, or his or her site, as ‘fake news'? If that's the case, they'll have to shut down the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News, CNN, etc. They get things wrong all the time."
Indeed they do.
Can we Finally Now Turn the Page?
Every dictatorship needs a devil. And the dictatorship that is the modern Democrat Party - with several Republican allies - has their devil in Russia.
When it comes to President-Elect Donald J. Trump and his swift-acting transition team, day-to-day politics are being criminalized. Every occurrence is another outrage, an unparalleled indignity for the country with no precedent in modern history.*
For example, Trump's own businesses. Everybody knew long before Trump ran for President that he was a billionaire with a sprawling, worldwide commercial empire. But now that he has won the election and in the process of disentangling himself from the Trump Organization, his enemies are already speculating about impeachment over precisely the issue emoluments. (Just out of curiosity: did these same people consciously overlook the Clinton Foundation during Hillary's tenure as Secretary of State... yes!)
That's but only one outrage among the left movement today. The latest two manufactured, melodramatic and plain silly outrages both predictably cite a common devil shared by the Democrats and many in the Republican establishment: Russia.
Mr. Rex Tillerson is the CEO of ExxonMobil, one of, if not the, largest companies in the world. The company he directs has energy-related projects across the world's continents and around its oceans, including in Russia. In 2012, Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded Tillerson the Russian Order of Friendship.
Now you might be thinking: Why is this Russian connection of Tillerson more disqualifying than the Bush family's close association with Saudi monarchs, or ExxonMobil's own interests in Qatar, two known sources of terrorist financing? Excellent question.
Speaking of terror states, let's get to the source. John Kerry, who unfortunately is the current Secretary of State, is related by family links to his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif. Iran is the number one sponsor of Islamic terrorism around the world.
Thanks to John Kerry, they also find themselves with more influence, money, and international acceptance than they have since the days of the western friendly Shah Mohammad Reza.
Do you remember hearing the media, the pundits, or Washington establishment complain John "Ketchup" Kerry's close connections to the regime that chants "Death to America!" each Friday afternoon? This relationship is more substantial than some government-given honor. It's all in the family ... and some.
Up until now, nothing negative has been announced about Tillerson. The same cannot be said about Kerry and his gang.
Russian Hack Attack? So says Barack Hussein Obama and John Brennan
Ever looking to discredit and cast aspersion on the impending Trump presidency, the CIA has concluded that Russia hacked its way to a Donald Trump victory. The so-called evidence?
Allegedly, Russia also hacked the Republican National Committee, but did not release the information to WikiLeaks, like they (allegedly) did with DNC information. Ergo, Vladimir Putin's government unfairly advantaged Donald Trump.
There's just one small problem with this manipulative story: RNC Chairman Reince Priebus denies they were ever hacked in the first place. The "hack" of the DNC was an inside job by some disillusioned Democrats
One may be tempted to call this Russian fear mongering modern day McCarthyism - seeing "Reds under the Bed." Yet, do you recall Putin ever calling for world revolution and the destruction of Western civilization, like his predecessors in the U.S.S.R.? Do they chant this every Sunday morning after mass, like they do in Iran on Friday's after mosque?
Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham, predictably soft, joined their Democrat counterparts in the Senate - among them, the poisonous propagandist Chuck Schumer - and issued the following statement:
"Recent reports of Russian interference in our election should alarm every American ... Democrats and Republicans must work together, and across the jurisdictional lines of the Congress, to examine these recent incidents thoroughly and devise comprehensive solutions to deter and defend against further cyber-attacks."
Reminder: These are the same two Republican Senators who acted as special pleaders, in concert with Barack Hussein Obama, today's sitting president, for the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi. Morsi's first trip abroad as President of Egypt was to Iran, to visit Kerry's buddies in the Iranian government.
Luckily for posterity, the FBI conducted a thorough examination of Russian interference into the election and declared there was no evidence to support the claim.
Politicized DOJ, Politicized CIA
The election of 2016 proved that our federal institutions have become discouragingly politicized. The Department of Justice bent into a pretzel folded like a double helix while attempting to rationalize their reluctance to prosecute Hillary Clinton.
Obama, while bogged down in swamp of actual scandals in 2014, famously referred to them as "phony scandals."
Would the CIA under John Brennan, former National Security Advisor to Obama, dare to misinform the American public with a truly phony scandal, and raise the specter of Russian intelligence active measures where there were none? Is Attorney General Loretta Lynch blind in her pursuit of justice?
To believe the Democrats, some Republicans, and the entire media today, is to believe that Trump going, unannounced, to dinner with his family is not only scandalous, but downright perilous to our democracy.
Speaking of phony, you know what really is? Obama, and his thoroughly fraudulent administration. Kindly, we have not covered the Podesta travesty here.
Note to those who are undermining the incoming President - Barack Hussein Obama, Hillary, and the rest of the gang - you are just a bunch of crying baby losers.
'You're turning affection into something perverted!'
Controversial campaign promoting childhood consent for hugs and kisses sparks outcry online
A controversial campaign encouraging parents to teach their children about consent from a young age has prompted widespread debate online.
The meme which first started circulating in October and has since resurfaced features a picture of a young blonde girl.
The photo is accompanied with the words: 'I am five. My body is my body. Don't force me to kiss or hug. I am learning about consent and your support on this will help me keep safe for the rest of my life.'
The meme was recently shared by New Zealand organisation Safe kids, thriving families who were supportive of the message.
They accompanied the meme with a status which read: 'Supporting our children's understanding of body autonomy has a lifelong reach. 'Let's do all we can to normalise a child's right to do what they want with their own bodies.'
The post has since been shared over 50,000 times and has hundreds of comments, with opinion from parents very much divided.
Many parents agreed that the meme was spreading a positive message to children and their families.
Chantelle wrote: 'If a person wants to hug, kiss or otherwise physically interact with a certain person and it is mutual: great!If its not mutual its not ok. Children are taught to respect property, why cant adults respect them?'
Becca agreed adding: 'Teaching our little ones boundaries and respect for their own bodies and that of others is vital!
'If an adult is making a child feel uncomfortable in any way "they" are in the wrong. Not the child. Back off. Love and respect are earned, not forced or taken.'
Courtney: 'Omg what's so difficult to understand. If a child doesn't want to hug or kiss someone they shouldn't have to.
'It may be innocent to you but if a child feels uncomfortable with it they should be able to say that to their parent.'
However, while many considered it to be an important message as many completely disagreed arguing that children should be encouraged to show affection.
Donna argued: 'So, we are going to make something innocent and used as a show of affection and turn it into something perverted?
'THIS is what is inherently wrong with our country. Human beings scientifically NEED touch for survival. It releases much needed endorphins which produce positive feelings in human beings.'
Rhys says that he was taught to show affection as a youngster and it hadn't affected his future.
He commented: 'So are you saying you should not tell your kids to hug and kiss their grandparents hello and goodbye? Or their aunt and uncles? I grew up having to give all my family members a hug or a kiss when we saw them and I grew up fine!'
Hailey said: 'I think having children "go hug grandma" and showing affection is good for children. They don't grow up thinking that showing affection is a bad thing.'
Following the surge of feedback the owners of the account, who aim to protect children from sexual abuse, commented on their post to clarify they are not trying to disuade affection.
They said: 'Just to be clear to everyone - WE LOVE HUGS AND KISSES! My own children are *so* affectionate. We are the huggy huggers from way back. 'However, we are VERY MUCH against FORCING kids to kiss and hug.'
Australia: Angry Lesbian wants a slice of her former partner's assets -- fails
The Family Court is defending claims it treats same-sex couples differently after a decision in which a lesbian was denied a share of her former partner’s assets, despite them having lived together in a bona-fide, legally recognised same-sex relationship for 27 years.
The Full Court of the Family Court has upheld a decision that the woman is not entitled to any of her partner's property, which includes a house, investments, and superannuation, mainly because the couple had kept their finances separate.
The couple did not have joint bank accounts or mutual wills, and they did not name each other as beneficiaries on their superannuation policies.
The woman, who cannot be named but is known in court records as Ms Chancellor, argued this was because “attitudes to same-sex relationships were less liberal” when the women started living together and “this explained why the parties had kept their financial affairs separate, as otherwise attention would have been drawn to the true nature of their cohabitation”.
In the Family Court decision, judge Leanne Turner, sitting in Brisbane, said: “It’s easy to assume when parties have been together, whether married or de facto, it automatically flows that a property settlement will occur, but that is not always the case.”
The decision is likely to energise the same-sex marriage debate, since opponents have long argued that the Marriage Act need not change while civil unions provide the same legal protections as marriage.
The case, known as Chancellor & McCoy, came before the court in January, with the appeal heard last month. The court heard Ms Chancellor, 59, and Ms McCoy, 55, commenced a same-sex relationship in 1982. Both are teachers; both had superannuation and accumulated property.
However, when the relationship ended in 2011, Ms McCoy’s assets were valued at $1.7 million, while Ms Chancellor’s were worth $720,000. The difference can mainly be explained by the fact Ms McCoy decided years ago to salary-sacrifice into super. Ms Chancellor did not. Each had a property, bought in their own name, using their own savings.
Judge Turner said the women were “mature, educated and intelligent”. They had “similar employment conditions and opportunities”. She acknowledged expenses and bills were split, and that some items for the houses were purchased jointly.
She found a “lack of joint financial decision-making”, while “each party remained responsible for their own debts”. The court ruled it was “unfair for Ms McCoy, who has taken steps to maximise her future wealth, to have to share that wealth with Ms Chancellor, who did not invest as wisely”.
The court relied on the High Court’s decision in Stanford v Stanford, which found splitting assets is not automatic.
In her appeal, Ms Chancellor argued her relationship had been held to a “higher or different standard” than other de facto couples. The appeals court dismissed the appeal, ruling that “although in a committed relationship”, the women had made a “somewhat unusual” decision to keep their financial affairs “almost entirely separate”.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.