The American media’s Trump-Russia hysteria of the last few years gains some real perspective when you consider that they are more than willing to take blood money to distribute publications that whitewash authoritarian crimes.
Mark Hemingway writes: If you ever spend any time in the Washington D.C. area, there’s a good chance you’ll come across a publication known as China Daily. In appearance, it’s a newspaper. In reality, it is official propaganda from the Chinese government that Communist Party officials deem appropriate for influencing those inside the Beltway. You can find it all over downtown D.C. in newspaper boxes. Large stacks of free copies are also dropped off directly at offices all over the city.
Even better, if you subscribe to the Washington Post, you can get communist propaganda delivered straight to your doorstep for a fee. A few times a year, the Post comes wrapped in a special advertising supplement called China Watch that, again, does its best to approximate a legitimate newspaper. But underneath the masthead in fine print, it reads: “This supplement, prepared by China Daily, People’s Republic of China, did not involve the news or editorial departments of the Washington Post.”
Anyway, you may have recently heard about how two million people out of a population of seven million in Hong Kong recently protested in the streets against the Communist Party’s attempt to further snuff out their little pocket of freedom. Here’s how China Daily is reporting what happened:
Parents in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region took to the streets on Sunday to urge US politicians to not interfere with the SAR’s extradition amendments and its internal affairs.
The protest, organized by several Hong Kong social groups, also condemned foreign entities for misleading young people in the city. Among these social groups was an alliance of more than 30 local political, business and legal dignitaries who support the proposed amendments to the SAR’s extradition law. They marched outside the US Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macao, calling on the US to stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs.
The whole article is a damnable lie, and yet, as far as I know, the brave truth-tellers at the Washington Post have been taking money to distribute this kind of bilge at least since 2011. Read the rest of this entry »
Adam Kredo reports: Explanatory media website Vox has been receiving money from a Chinese communist government-backed front organization.
A recent Vox blog post by foreign editor Yochi Dreazen titled, “The big winner of the Trump-Kim summit? China” discloses at the bottom of the piece that the reporting was subsidized by the China-United States Exchange Foundation.
“This reporting was supported by the China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF), a privately funded nonprofit organization based in Hong Kong that is dedicated to ‘facilitating open and constructive exchange among policy-makers, business leaders, academics, think-tanks, cultural figures, and educators from the United States and China,'” the post states in a note at the bottom.
CUSEF, as first noted by Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin, is a front organization backed by the Chinese government and established to spread the party’s propaganda.
“You know CUSEF is chaired by a top official in the Chinese Communist Party’s influence operations network, right?” Rogin queried Vox on Twitter.
“Tung Chee-hwa, CUSEF’s chair, is vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, which is connected to the United Front Work Department, the Communist Party agency designed to advance party objectives with outside actors,” Rogin went on to note.
Vox’s ties to CUSEF are receiving increased scrutiny in light of efforts to lawmakers to counter China’s promotion of propaganda in the U.S. media. Read the rest of this entry »
FISA Memo Is Scarier than Watergate.
Victor Davis Hanson write: The Watergate scandal of 1972–74 was uncovered largely because of outraged Democratic politicians and a bulldog media. They both claimed that they had saved American democracy from the Nixon administration’s attempt to warp the CIA and FBI to cover up an otherwise minor, though illegal, political break-in.
In the Iran-Contra affair of 1985–87, the media and liberal activists uncovered wrongdoing by some rogue members of the Reagan government. They warned of government overreach and of using the “Deep State” to subvert the law for political purposes.
We are now in the midst of a third great modern scandal. Members of the Obama administration’s Department of Justice sought court approval for the surveillance of Carter Page, allegedly for colluding with Russian interests, and extended the surveillance three times.
But none of these government officials told the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that the warrant requests were based on an unverified dossier that had originated as a hit piece funded in part by the Hillary Clinton campaign to smear Donald Trump during the current 2016 campaign.
Nor did these officials reveal that the author of the dossier, Christopher Steele, had already been dropped as a reliable source by the FBI for leaking to the press.
Nor did officials add that a Department of Justice official, Bruce Ohr, had met privately with Steele — or that Ohr’s wife, Nellie, had been hired to work on the dossier.
Unfortunately, such disclosures may be only the beginning of the FISA-gate scandal.
Members of the Obama administration’s national security team also may have requested the names of American citizens connected with the Trump campaign who had been swept up in other FISA surveillance. Those officials may have then improperly unmasked the names and leaked them to a compliant press — again, for apparent political purposes during a campaign.
Because they have lost the ability to cover real news when it happens.
Lee Smith writes: As widespread anti-regime protests in Iran continue on into their third day, American news audiences are starting to wonder why the US media has devoted so little coverage to such dramatic—and possibly history-making—events. Ordinary people are taking their lives in their hands to voice their outrage at the crimes of an obscurantist regime that has repressed them since 1979, and which attacks and shoots dead them in the streets. So why aren’t the protests in Iran making headlines?
“The problem, of course, is that the places that have obsessively run those stories for the past year aren’t really news outfits—not anymore. They are in the aromatherapy business.”
The short answer is that the American media is incapable of covering the story, because its resources and available story-lines for Iran reporting and expertise were shaped by two powerful official forces—the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the Obama White House. Without government minders providing them with story-lines and experts, American reporters are simply lost—and it shows.
It nearly goes without saying that only regime-friendly Western journalists are allowed to report from Iran, which is an authoritarian police state that routinely tortures and murders its political foes. The arrest and nearly two-year detention of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian drove this point home to American newsrooms and editors who might not have been paying attention. The fact that Rezaian was not an entirely hostile voice who showed “the human side” of the country only made the regime’s message more terrifying and effective: We can find you guilty of anything at any time, so watch your step.
The Post has understandably been reluctant to send someone back to Iran. But that’s hardly an excuse for virtually ignoring a story that threatens to turn the past eight years of conventional wisdom about Iran on its head. If the people who donned pink pussy hats to resist Donald Trump are one of the year’s big stories, surely people who are shot dead in the streets in Iran for resisting an actual murderous theocracy might also be deserving of a shout-out for their bravery.
Yet the Post’s virtual news blackout on Iran was still more honorable than The New York Times, whose man in Tehran Thomas Erdbrink is a veteran regime mouthpiecewhose official government tour guide-style dispatches recall the shameful low-point of Western media truckling to dictators: The systematic white-washing of Joseph Stalin’s monstrous crimes by Times Moscow correspondent Walter Duranty.
Here’s the opening of Erdbrink’s latest dispatch regarding the protests:
Protests over the Iranian government’s handling of the economy spread to several cities on Friday, including Tehran, in what appeared to be a sign of unrest.
“Appeared”? Protests are by definition signs of unrest. The fact that Erdbrink appears to have ripped off the Iran’s government news agency Fars official coverage of the protests is depressing enough—but the function that these dispatches serve is even worse. What Iranians are really upset about, the messaging goes, isn’t the daily grind of living in a repressive theocratic police state run by a criminal elite that robs them blind, but a normal human desire for better living standards. Hey, let’s encourage European industry to invest more money in Iran! Didn’t the US overthrow the elected leader of Iran 70 years ago? Hands off—and let’s put more money in the regime’s pocket, so they can send the protesters home in time for a hearty dinner, and build more ballistic missiles, of course. Erdbrink is pimping for the regime, and requesting the West to wire more money, fast.
Selling the protesters short is a mistake. For 38 years Iranian crowds have been gathered by regime minders to chant “Death to America, Death to Israel.” When their chant spontaneously changes to “Down with Hezbollah” and “Death to the Dictator” as it has now, something big is happening. The protests are fundamentally political in nature, even when the slogans are about bread. But Erdbrink can hardly bring himself to report the regime’s history of depredations since his job is to obscure them. He may have been a journalist at one point in time, but now he manages the Times portfolio in Tehran. Read the rest of this entry »
Tucker Carlson: NBC did more to meddle in 2016 election than Russia by being behind the worst of all leaks – the infamous Access Hollywood Trump tape to WaPo, which could have swayed the elections more than Russian hackers. #Tucker
He guaranteed Neil Gorsuch elevation to the Supreme Court.
…Donald Trump for winning the election. Hillary Clinton for losing it. Mitch McConnell for holding open the high court seat through 2016, resolute and immovable against furious (and hypocritical) opposition from Democrats and media. And, of course, Harry Reid.
God bless Harry Reid. It’s because of him that Gorsuch is guaranteed elevation to the court. In 2013, as Senate majority leader, Reid blew up the joint. He abolished the filibuster for federal appointments both executive (such as Cabinet) and judicial, for all district and circuit court judgeships (excluding only the Supreme Court). Thus unencumbered, the Democratic-controlled Senate packed the lower courts with Obama nominees.
Reid was warned that the day would come when Republicans would be in the majority and would exploit the new rules to equal and opposite effect. That day is here.
The result is striking. Trump’s Cabinet appointments are essentially unstoppable because Republicans need only 51 votes and they have 52. They have no need to reach 60, the number required to overcome a filibuster. Democrats are powerless to stop anyone on their own.
And equally powerless to stop Gorsuch. But isn’t the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees still standing? Yes, but if the Democrats dare try it, everyone knows that Majority Leader McConnell will do exactly what Reid did and invoke the nuclear option — filibuster abolition — for the Supreme Court, too.
Reid never fully appreciated the magnitude of his crime against the Senate. As I wrote at the time, the offense was not abolishing the filibuster — you can argue that issue either way — but that he did it by simple majority. Read the rest of this entry »
Source: Media Research Center
WaPo: 50% of Clinton Voters Believe Russia ‘Tampered with Vote Tallies in Order to get Donald Trump Elected’Posted: December 29, 2016
The story deals largely with the fact that party breakdown determines the conspiracy theories people are willing to believe or not. Interestingly enough, when looking at the results, Republicans (in particular, Trump voters) are less likely to believe conspiracy theories than Hillary voters. For example, the ‘Pizzagate’ conspiracy that said leaked emails from the Clinton campaign talked about a pedophilia ring run out of pizza parlor, shows 46% of Trump voters believe it but 53% do not.
Bitter Clinton voters are more easily persuaded, however, especially when it comes to the belief the Russians hacked our voting systems to help Trump:
Trump voters and Clinton voters also look differently at two Election Day conspiracy theories: that Russia actually hacked the votes to change the election results, and that there were, as Donald Trump suggested, there were “millions of people who voted illegally.”
Half of Clinton’s voters think Russia even hacked the Election Day votes (only 9% of Trump voters give that any credibility at all). Six in ten Trump voters believe there were millions of illegal votes cast on election day. Read the rest of this entry »
Deranged by Trump Victory, Orange Coast College Professor Olga Perez Stable Cox Captured on Video Going Cuckoo BananasPosted: December 10, 2016
An Orange Coast College professor is under scrutiny for post-election classroom comments disparaging Donald Trump and Mike Pence.
Peter Holley reports: The Orange Coast College Republicans in Costa Mesa, Calif., are filing a complaint against human sexuality professor Olga Perez Stable Cox after video shows her criticizing the outcome of the election.
Like many Americans, Olga Perez Stable Cox has strong feelings about the outcome of this year’s presidential election.
“It’s alarming. It’s scaremongering. It’s irrational. It’s a rant. And it doesn’t belong in the classroom.”
Unlike many Americans, her job offers the convenience of a captive audience with whom she can share those feelings.
Cox, a professor at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, Calif., did exactly that days after the election while standing in front of her students in a class — unleashing a multi-minute, hyperbole-filled harangue in which she called Donald Trump’s election an “act of terrorism,” referred to the president-elect as a “white supremacist” and said “we have been assaulted.”
“This is a place that prides itself on being a diverse student college, and her comments go against all of that. You’re dealing with a diverse population, and when she states that ‘we are the majority,’ she’s not taking into account that there may be Republican students in he class of over 200 students — she’s not being inclusive.”
Cox — a psychology professor who teaches a class on human sexuality — referred to Vice President-elect Mike Pence as “one of the most anti-gay humans in the country.” She also told her students that the nation is as divided now as it was “in Civil War times.”
Steele sent the following letter to Harkins, the school president:
“First of all, we are the majority; more of us voted to not have that kind of leadership, and we didn’t win because of the way our electoral college is set up, but we are the majority, and that’s helping me to feel better,” she said. “I’m relieved that we live in California. It is one of the best states and I love that and I love living here, but I’m especially proud of our legislature who did put out a message.”
Cox’s comments were recorded by a conservative student in her class who found her statements offensive and decided to share the video with the Orange Coast College Republicans, according Joshua Recalde-Martinez, a political science major and president of the campus Republicans group.
Recalde-Martinez said his group decided to publicize the video this week after OCC President Dennis Harkins failed to address Cox’s behavior or respond to the group’s complaint “in a timely manner.” Recalde-Martinez said a handful of conservative students were present for Cox’s comments and many felt ostracized by her words and afraid that their grades might be affected by freely speaking their minds.
The student who filmed the video has asked to remain anonymous for fear of facing retribution in Cox’s classroom, Recalde-Martinez said.
The Orange Coast College Republicans plan to file a formal complaint with the school and have hired an attorney, Shawn Steele, who is a past chairman of the California Republican Party. Read the rest of this entry »
Academia should consider how it contributed to, and reflects Americans’ judgments pertinent to, Donald Trump’s election.
George Will writes: Many undergraduates, their fawn-like eyes wide with astonishment, are wondering: Why didn’t the dean of students prevent the election from disrupting the serenity to which my school has taught me that I am entitled? Campuses create “safe spaces” where students can shelter from discombobulating thoughts and receive spiritual balm for the trauma of microaggressions. Yet the presidential election came without trigger warnings?
“Only the highly educated write so badly…the point of such ludicrous prose is to signal membership in a clerisy.”
The morning after the election, normal people rose — some elated, some despondent — and went off to actual work. But at Yale University, that incubator of late-adolescent infants, a professor responded to “heartfelt notes” from students “in shock” by making that day’s exam optional.
Academia should consider how it contributed to, and reflects Americans’ judgments pertinent to, Donald Trump’s election. The compound of childishness and condescension radiating from campuses is a reminder to normal Americans of the decay of protected classes — in this case, tenured faculty and cosseted students.
As “bias-response teams” fanned out across campuses, an incident report was filed about a University of Northern Colorado student who wrote “free speech matters” on one of 680 “#languagematters” posters that cautioned against politically incorrect speech. Catholic DePaul University denounced as “bigotry” a poster proclaiming “Unborn Lives Matter.” Bowdoin College provided counseling to students traumatizedby the cultural appropriation committed by a sombrero-and-tequila party. Oberlin College students said they were suffering breakdowns because schoolwork was interfering with their political activism. California State University at Los Angeles established “healing” spaces for students to cope with the pain caused by a political speech delivered three months earlier . Indiana University experienced social-media panic (“Please PLEASE PLEASE be careful out there tonight”) because a Catholic priest in a white robe, with a rope-like belt and rosary beads, was identified as someone “in a KKK outfit holding a whip.” Read the rest of this entry »
Headline Correction: ‘Donald Trump Reaches Turning Point, Endlessly Surviving Empty Threats from Disgruntled Media’Posted: June 4, 2016
Paul Waldman writes: The news media have come in for a lot of criticism in the way they’ve reported this election, which makes it exactly like every other election. But something may have changed just in the last few days. I have no idea how meaningful it will turn out to be or how long it will last.
But it’s possible that when we look back over the sweep of this most unusual campaign, we’ll mark this week as a significant turning point: the time when journalists finally figured out how to cover Donald Trump.
They didn’t do it by coming up with some new model of coverage, or putting aside what they were taught in journalism school. They’re doing it by rediscovering the fundamental values and norms that are supposed to guide their profession. (And for the record, even though I’m part of “the media” I’m speaking in the third person here because I’m an opinion writer, and this is about the reporters whose job it is to objectively relay the events of the day).
If this evolution in coverage takes hold, we can trace it to the combined effect of a few events and developments happening in a short amount of time. The first was Trump’s press conference on Tuesday, the ostensible purpose of which was to answer questions about a fundraiser he held in January to raise money for veterans’ groups. In the course of the press conference, Trump was at his petulant, abusive worst, attacking reporters in general and those in the room. “The political press is among the most dishonest people that I’ve ever met,” he said, saying to one journalist who had asked a perfectly reasonable question, “You’re a sleaze.” These kinds of criticisms are not new — anyone who has reported a Trump rally can tell you how Trump always tosses some insults at the press, at which point his supporters turn around and hurl their own abuse at those covering the event — but Trump seemed particularly angry and unsettled.
To see how the press looked at that revealing event, it’s critical to understand what led to it. It happened because the Post’s David Fahrenthold and some other reporters did what journalists are supposed to do. They raised questions about Trump’s fundraiser, and when they didn’t get adequate answers, they investigated, gathered facts, and asked more questions.
It was excellent work — time-consuming, difficult, and ultimately paying dividends in public understanding. And Trump’s attack on them for doing their jobs the way those jobs are supposed to be done couldn’t have been better designed to get every other journalist to want to do the same. They’re no different than anyone else: When you make a direct attack on their professionalism, they’re likely to react by reaching back to their profession’s core values to demonstrate that they can live up to them. Trump may have wanted to intimidate them, but it’s likely to have the opposite effect. Read the rest of this entry »
“Seems like a better idea for a cartoon: Hillary and her lapdogs.”
— Senator Ted Cruz
WASHINGTON — Ted Cruz obtained new ammunition Tuesday to shoot at his favorite bogeyman, the mainstream media, after The Washington Post depicted his two young daughters as monkey-like characters doing the bidding of their father. By early Tuesday evening, backlash to the cartoon had swelled to the point where the Post took down the image…(read more)
Just 30 percent of people polled said that the next president ‘should take an approach similar to that of Barack Obama’.
Ed Morrissey writes:
So much for continuity. Recently, Barack Obama bragged that he could win a third term in office if the Constitution didn’t prohibit it, but a new Monmouth poll shows that Americans overwhelmingly want a change of direction and approach. Only 27% would support a hypothetical Obama re-election, and more than two-thirds would vote for someone else if Obama appeared on the ticket:
The poll also looked at Pres. Barack Obama’s overall standing with the public. In a recent speech, Obama said that he could win a third term if the Constitution didn’t limit him to two. The poll’s results suggest this may be a bit of wishful thinking. Just 26% of American voters say they would vote to re-elect Obama if he was allowed to run for another term while fully 68% would vote for somebody else. It’s no surprise that Obama would find little enthusiasm for another four years in the White House among Republicans (5%) or even independents (23%) at this stage. However, his support among Democrats is not particularly strong either – just 53% would back the incumbent for a third term while 43% of his fellow partisans would vote for somebody else.
“Well, it was worth a shot,” said Murray. “It’s not like the president’s claim could ever be tested for real.”
Pres. Obama’s job rating has dropped after temporarily poking its head above water last month. He currently has a negative 45% approve to 50% disapprove rating with the American public. That’s lower than the 47% positive to 46% negative rating he held in July, but it is similar to his job ratings from earlier in the year. Currently, 79% of Democrats approve of the president’s job performance – similar to 80% in July – whereas 85% of Republicans disapprove – up from 80% in July. Independents give Obama a negative split at 39% approve and 52% disapprove, which is slightly worse than last month’s rating of 42% approve and 48% disapprove.
Part of this might be the Iran deal, which reminds Americans why term limits in this office are a good idea. While a large number of people remain unsure about the deal, a narrow plurality (27/32) opposes it, with independents breaking almost exactly with the public at large (27/33). Read the rest of this entry »
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) October 28, 2014
TICK TOCK CNN media reporter: Costello deserves all the criticism she’s getting TICK TOCK TICK TOCK
Hot Air‘s Ed Morrissey writes:
And CNN deserves some too, although their media reporter Brian Stelter didn’t go quite that far yesterday. Give Stelter credit for covering the controversy at all, though; he’s not an ombudsman or Carol Costello’s editor, after all, but just CNN’s media-beat analyst. Stelter provides a fair, if limited, look at Costello’s giggly adolescent delight at hearing Bristol Palin recount an assault in an audio clip, but doesn’t get around to discussing CNN’s responsibility for the segment or Costello’s refusal to apologize on air:
That brawl in Alaska involving Sarah Palin’s family has gotten a lot of media attention. And when police audio was released, CNN anchor Carol Costello played it. And, boy, did she think it was a hoot. …
At Mediaite, Joe Concha thinks an on-air apology may come today. CNN is out of options, Concha writes, and the controversy won’t go away:
In the past 72 hours alone, the Washington Post’s respected media writer, Erik Wemple–who has described Costello as “outstanding” in the recent past–has called on her to apologize on CNN air. Fox’s media analyst–Howard Kurtz–stated on Sunday’s Media Buzz the following: “Carol is a good journalist, but to make fun of the woman (Bristol Palin) in this episode no matter who started that brawl is horribly insensitive.” Kurtz added a need for Costello to apologize on-air as well.…(more)
If you’ve forgotten Costello’s take on Stephen Smith, it took place in late July, after Smith actually did apologize on air for suggesting that Janay Rice played a role in the incident of domestic violence that put the NFL under the microscope this season. Read the rest of this entry »
“Government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people.”
— Ronald Reagan, 1964
Today marks the 50th anniversary of private citizen Ronald Reagan’s landmark speech in behalf of Barry Goldwater‘s presidential candidacy in 1964. Reagan’s remarks gave meaning to a campaign the establishment had said was a fool’s errand, and offered a response to those who said conservatism was not sophisticated or viable as a governing force.
The facts have proved otherwise, and that speech made Reagan the leading conservative in America. Years after his passing, he still holds that title. Who calls himself a Nixon Republican or a Bush Republican? Most call themselves Reagan Republicans, even if they don’t know the true meaning of Reaganism….(read more) LA Times
“I’ve spent most of my adult life as a Democrat. I’ve recently seen fit to follow another course”
Today marks the 50th anniversary of what has become known as simply “The Speech.” The actual title Ronald Reagan gave to the address with which he electrified a nation during a 30-minute broadcast for the failing Goldwater campaign was “A Time for Choosing.” Goldwater lost a week later to Lyndon Johnson, but conservative presidential politics had a North Star in Reagan after that. “It defined conservatism for 50 years,” Reagan biographer Craig Shirley concluded.
“This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government, or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”
Washington Post columnist David Broder wrote that the night of Reagan’s address represented “the most successful political debut since William Jennings Bryan” and his “Cross of Gold” speech in 1896. “I didn’t know it then,” Reagan wrote in his 1991 autobiography, “but that speech was one of the most important milestones of my life.”
“No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size.”
Financially, it raised a stunning $8 million (over $60 million in today’s money) for the flailing Goldwater campaign, most of which couldn’t be spent in those days when checks were delivered by regular mail. But as former Reagan aide Jeffrey Lord reminds us, “the real importance of the speech was that Reagan had looked Americans in the eye and stood for something.”
“If government planning and welfare had the answer, shouldn’t we expect government to read the score to us once in a while?” Shouldn’t they be telling us about the decline each year in the number of people needing help? But the reverse is true.”
It was a different Ronald Reagan than the one many Americans remember as president who gave “The Speech” that night. As historian Steven Hayward noted in the Washington Post on Sunday, it “was not the avuncular, optimistic Reagan of his film roles, or of his subsequent political career that emphasized ‘morning in America’ and the ‘shining city on a hill,’ but a comparatively angry and serious Reagan, serving up partisan red meat against liberalism and the Democrats” (whose party he had been a member of only two years before). Read the rest of this entry »
— TIME.com (@TIME) October 22, 2014
One of Style’s best feature writers ever, Martha Sherrill, writes the piece I most wanted to read on Ben Bradlee: http://t.co/VCQw12EHdR
— Hank Stuever (@hankstuever) October 22, 2014
— CSPAN (@cspan) October 22, 2014
David Remnick remembers Ben Bradlee, “the most charismatic and consequential newspaper editor of postwar America” http://t.co/VNP9oo2YNP
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) October 22, 2014
The NSF has already poured nearly $1 million into Truthy. To what end? Why is the federal government spending so much money on the study of your Twitter habits?
“The concept seems to have come straight out of a George Orwell novel.”
If you tweet your support for a candidate in the November elections, should taxpayer money be used to monitor your speech and evaluate your “partisanship’’?
My guess is that most Americans would answer those questions with a resounding no. But the federal government seems to disagree. The National Science Foundation , a federal agency whose mission is to “promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity and welfare; and to secure the national defense,” is funding a project to collect and analyze your Twitter data.
The project is being developed by researchers at Indiana University, and its purported aim is to detect what they deem “social pollution” and to study what they call “social epidemics,” including how memes — ideas that spread throughout pop culture — propagate. What types of social pollution are they targeting? “Political smears,” so-called “astroturfing” and other forms of “misinformation.”
“The federal government has no business spending your hard-earned money on a project to monitor political speech on Twitter.”
Named “Truthy,” after a term coined by TV host Stephen Colbert, the project claims to use a “sophisticated combination of text and data mining, social network analysis, and complex network models” to distinguish between memes that arise in an “organic manner” and those that are manipulated into being.
But there’s much more to the story. Focusing in particular on political speech, Truthy keeps track of which Twitter accounts are using hashtags such as #teaparty and #dems.
It estimates users’ “partisanship.” It invites feedback on whether specific Twitter users, such as the Drudge Report, are “truthy” or “spamming.” And it evaluates whether accounts are expressing “positive” or “negative” sentiments toward other users or memes. Read the rest of this entry »
Russian hackers use ‘zero-day’ in cyber-spy campaign
For The Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima reports: A Russian hacking group probably working for the government has been exploiting a previously unknown flaw in Microsoft’s Windows operating system to spy on NATO, the Ukrainian government, a U.S. university researcher and other national security targets, according to a new report.
“This is consistent with espionage activity. All indicators from a targeting and lures perspective would indicate espionage with Russian national interests.”
— iSight Senior Director Stephen Ward
The group has been active since at least 2009, according to research by iSight Partners, a cybersecurity firm.
Its targets in the recent campaign also included a Polish energy firm, a Western European government agency and a French telecommunications firm.
“This is consistent with espionage activity,” said iSight Senior Director Stephen Ward. “All indicators from a targeting and lures perspective would indicate espionage with Russian national interests.”
“The firm began monitoring the hackers’ activity in late 2013 and discovered the vulnerability in August…The flaw is present in every Windows operating system from Vista to 8.1, he said, except Windows XP.”
There is no indication that the group was behind a recent spate of intrusions into U.S. banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Ward said.
“ISight dubbed the recently detected hacking group SandWorm because of references embedded in its code to the science-fiction novel ‘Dune.’ There were various mentions in Russian to the fictional desert planet of Arrakis, for instance.”
Current and former U.S. intelligence officials say the capabilities of Russian hackers are on par with those of the United States and Israel. Read the rest of this entry »
For The Washington Post, Andrea Peterson reports: The Obama administration is secretly negotiating a treaty that could have significant effects on domestic law. Officially, it’s a “free trade” treaty among Pacific rim countries, but a section of the draft agreement leaked in 2011 suggested that it will require signers, including the United States, to make significant changes to copyright law and enforcement measures.
“…it seems strange for the Times to be opining on a treaty the public hasn’t gotten to see yet. If the Times has gotten a leaked copy of the report, it should publish it so the public can make up its own mind.”
Strangely, the administration seems to be encouraging the public to have a debate on the treaty before they know what’s in it. The Office of the United States Trade Representative has solicited comments about the treaty on its Web site, but there is no particularly detailed information about the content of the agreement, or a draft of the current version of the proposal. Read the rest of this entry »
President Obama laid out “a mighty ambitious goal” when he said he would destroy the Islamic State, and thus far his strategy has been ineffective, says the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward on Fox News Sunday.