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Saturday, November 19, 2016 - 7:07amSanction this postReply
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I've been working a lot of hrs this week and out of the news loop.  (If I sound incoherent I apologize - I'm running 4hrs of sleep.) I keep hearing about the war on fake news. Obama was just on CNN discussing it. Is it a slight of hand topic while they do something more sinister? It sounds like the beginning of a war on freedom of the press.  In order to protect the dissemination of truth we need to filter it.  Of course the established outlets would applaud as they secure more power and hedge the political base.  

 

Yikes!



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Post 1

Sunday, November 20, 2016 - 12:01pmSanction this postReply
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I hope this fad dies quickly.  No one wants to discuss the elephant in the living room, namely the average person's lack of critical thinking.  The only reason "fake news" gets any traction at all comes from gullibility.  Fortunately, corrections can disseminate via the Web as quickly as errors.  Whenever I read a news article, I always skip immediately to the comments section since if a takedown of the article's thesis can be had, it usually appears right away as a comment.  I have been disappointed to see more and more news outlets disable comments lately.  Those articles I take the least seriously since they evidently fear such takedowns and consequently lack confidence in their own journalism.

 

(Edited by Luke Setzer on 11/20, 12:01pm)



Post 2

Sunday, November 20, 2016 - 8:20pmSanction this postReply
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War continues.  At least by the end CNN appears to agree that elimination or silencing fake news isn't the answer - for now.

 

Why Fake News Stories Thrive Online



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Post 3

Sunday, November 20, 2016 - 11:12pmSanction this postReply
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There are a lot of good points being made in the article about things like bias confirmation, group bonding, and tendencies arising out of partisanship.  But it misses the more important point.

 

Political correctness, trigger words, claims of 'dog whistles' and 'code words', demands for safe spaces, making an intolerant religion of racial, ethnic and gender diversity, social justice, income inequality and climate change... those things go along with the branding of the opposition's positions as "Fake News" - these are all forms of attempted thought control. 

 

Mao's China, Stalin's Soviet Union, Fidel's Cuba, Hitler's Germany all used forms of intimidation, propoganda and finally forced re-education, imprisonment or execution.  America's progressives are far more deceptive - far less upfront and haven't reached a point where force is the automatic recourse for their opponents... yet.  It is much easier to get people to control their own thinking if you can make all of the thoughts you oppose to be seen as immoral.

 

Progressives declare some positions not just right but sacred and unquestionable, they are declared not just wrong, but an evil conspiracy and intolerable.  It is remarkable how alike it is to call something "Fake News" (when it isn't) and calling something a "conspiracy theory" (when it isn't).   Free speech is under attack like never before in this nation.  And the attack is being mounted across the culture, in the media, from the elites, not just through government. 

 

That is an important aspect of "Fake News" but it isn't the only one.  There is a severe decrease in honesty in today's world in general and it leads to a lot of lying in the political arena - not just by the politicians - but in our increasingly factionalized world it is more and more of the supporters and the reporters.  Add to that the torrent of ugly, passive-agressive hatred that pushed out by on-line commenters who use the internet's anonymity.



Post 4

Monday, November 21, 2016 - 5:27pmSanction this postReply
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Well said Steve!



Post 5

Monday, November 21, 2016 - 6:20pmSanction this postReply
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Thanks, Tim.



Post 6

Monday, November 21, 2016 - 10:11pmSanction this postReply
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Hi Steve, I think there is an issue with some entities in the alt-right and right fringe that deliberately and consistently produce disinformation, and what could be considered thought control, under the guise of individual liberty and freedom of speech.  Though when Obama and co. began the initiative against them I completely disagreed with it, on grounds of free speech as you mentioned.



Post 7

Monday, November 21, 2016 - 11:36pmSanction this postReply
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Hi Korben,

 

As I indicated, we have a growing loss of honesty that is culture-wide.  It's not just honesty, but personal responsibility as well.  Some of this is part of a long-term trend.

 

Religion was once the prevalent supplier of moral/ethical standards for American culture.  As Objectivists, we want to see an end to that tight bond between faith-based, altruistic religion, and ethics.  Instead we want to see an ethics based upon rational self-interest.  But Progressives dominate in the arena of education.  They have pushed an agenda that is not just secular, but one that supports moral/ethical relativism.  And they push determinism over any form of volition (and volition of some sort is at the heart of personal responsibility).  So, religion fades but as it fades, it is leaving a degree of confusion, and something of a vacuum in ethics.  This is the long-term trend where basic philosophy in the form of epistemology and ethics are driving changes in our culture.  We see it showing up in the arena of politics.  Dishonesty follows from the approach of "The end justifies the means" which is the abandonment of morality.

 

Because progressivism has pushed so hard in recent decades, a backlash has come into being.  Conservatives started as a backlash against communism and its secularism.  The Tea Party, Brexit, the 2010 elections in the House... lots of backlashes.  I don't know much about the alt-right.  But I can imagine that there are those among the younger generation who are bolder about adopting tactics from the left - even the regressive left.  And the fringes of all political populations are usually sprinkled with both nut-cases, and mean people.  I wouldn't be suprised to find out that there are those on the right who create "Fake News" and those on the left that create "Fake News" - politics is a mess right now.  Absent a lot of people with more sensible political philosophies I don't expect it to get better.

 

We have all seen those emails/posts that attempt to go viral with some stupid claim, like "Do this or your computer will be hacked" or "Woman develops IQ of 220 after drinking sperm every day".  And we can imagine emotionally retarded teens liviing in their parent's basement giggling over putting something over on a large number of people.  I think that the same kind of passive-aggressive and emotionally immature personality is behind "Fake News" but with a mean, partisan motivation added on.  Think about what it means that there are people who take joy in getting away with dishonest, anonymous actions that hurt others and are intended to effect political outcomes. 

 

We don't just live in a mixed economy, but also in a country beset with mixed political principles in all the different groups.  Religionists shouldn't be in politics at all in our system, but they are often the only group that believe such things as absolute moral values can exist - values that are not subjective or relative - and that individuals can be responsible for their actions.  The secular left should be the group that shows allegiance to science and reason but they make a mish-mash of second-hand, discredited Marxist principles into a quasi-religion.  There are libertarians who should be the strongest supporters of capitalism but get lost in floating abstactions and irrelavancies.  Where conservatives should be unified behind the idea of a small government that minds its own business, there are NeoCons, Compassionate Conservatives, and National Security Hawks.  How could an Objectivist stand with any of these groups.  You have to identify the individual principles and pick and choose.

 

The greater the divide between the principles in conflict, the greater the animosity one would expect to see.  The greater the power to be gained by those who gain control of government (i.e., the larger the government power), the greater the intensity of those fighting to gain that control.  The greater the degree of dishonesty and unfairness seen on one side, the more likely there will be those on the other side to emulate those tactics.  The less clearly the principles in play are understood, the more irrational and emotional the partisans are likely to be.  The more mixed the premises of the different platforms, the less rational the debates.

 

Long term, the winner has to be those who influence the thinking of the young.  Each generation that rolls out of our institutes of higher learning is more ignorant than the one before it.  That's not good.  Ayn Rand and ARI both see the greatest danger coming from the adoption of more fascist policies.  I can see that happening as the backlash against progressive successes.  An alternative is that the progressives win.  Both are collectivist and become brutal violators of individual rights as soon as they get enough power.



Post 8

Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - 12:10pmSanction this postReply
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Last month?  Fake news.  This month?  Russians.  Next month? Who knows.

 

Welcome to Orwell for real.



Post 9

Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - 2:21pmSanction this postReply
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The degree to which progressives traffic in fake news is astonishing!  Talk about the Russians thing in the news now... Why isn't anyone in the MSM mentioning that the Clinton camp have been silent on all negatuve things Russian till now?  There was the infamous "Russian Reset" and Obama making fun of Romney for saying that Russia was a major geopolitical foe.  After that, no mention of Crimea, the Ukraine, the association with Iran, the siding with Asad in Syria, the provocations against NATO, the buzzing of American vessels, etc.  Now, suddenly, the progressives are hypersensitive to the dangers from Putin?

 

But here is the funniest part: Podesta is calling for the CIA to provide a briefing to all member of the Electoral College before they vote on the 19th.  He knows that the CIA will never provide a briefing of that kind to a group of people who have no security clearance.  He knows that there is only a leak that is alleged to have come from the CIA (which is a wierd thing for the CIA to be doing.) In addition, he isn't mentioning that he, Podesta, Hillary's chief advisor and her campaign manager, is also a registered lobbiest who made a reported $60,000 fee as a lobbist when the largest Russian bank, on behalf of the Russian government, bought the uranium mineral rights and a number of uranium mines from American companies (which Hillary, as secretary of state had to approve), or that Bill Clinton pocketed a huge amount of money for speaking fees from that bank.

 

If progressivism were to be totally honest on all significant things, it would cease to exist.  There wouldn't be enough left to talk about.  There would be no more content.  It has used massive deception and done so effectively enough to have nearly taken over the nation (and it may yet do so).  But deception is a fragile base.  When enough people see the degree of the dishonesty, and how fundamental that dishonesty is to this political movement, it can collapse with an astonishing speed.



Post 10

Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - 4:06pmSanction this postReply
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When enough people see the degree of the dishonesty, and how fundamental that dishonesty is to this political movement, it can collapse with an astonishing speed.

One hopes so however I got off of facebook because of what I was seeing from people I cared about - talk about mind numbed robots.  Too many are so ideologically minded that they just spew what each group says.  There is no search for what's true.  It doesn't matter if the dishonesty is revealed because winning is more important.  As long as the right group is in control of the sinking ship that's all that matters.



Post 11

Tuesday, December 13, 2016 - 7:10pmSanction this postReply
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Too many are so ideologically minded that they just spew what each group says.  There is no search for what's true.  It doesn't matter if the dishonesty is revealed because winning is more important. 

That's true in two ways.  One way has to do with the individual.  Psychologically, we have a capacity to act rationally, but also a capacity to act on emotions.  So, ideologically minded people can choose to engage in group think, put their emotional reactions above reason and refuse to see dishonesty.

 

But each individual will also control his behavior to some degree in reaction to the culture as a whole.  If the culture strongly opposes a given set of beliefs, there will be far fewer public supporters of those beliefs.   They will be less assertive.  (And there will be fewer people to hold those beliefs.)  An example here is an individual who is actually a racist - like a KKK member.  He feels constrained to hide his beliefs to a much greater degree now than in the fifties.  And there are fewer people who have chosen to be members of the KKK now than in the past.  This is just saying that individuals will react to the culture, and not just to an ideology by itself.

 

The second way is about the group, rather than the individual, and in which each group is empowered - to some degree or another - by the culture it is in.  A culture is a whole set of beliefs that have evolved such as to co-exist in a society at a given point of time.  When a group holds beliefs that held by, say, 90 plus percent of the people in the society, as for example, Christianity was in America a couple hundred years ago, there will be very little motivation, and very few incidents that arise that put those beliefs in question.  And the fact that there will be far, far less conflict means that there will be less dishonesty.  Christianity was as wrong in its belief systems back then as it is now, but now there are dishonest efforts to defend it and dishonest efforts to attack it.  Partisanship is just the obvious result of actual conflict.  You don't get one belief system replacing another without a lot of conflict at the point where the balance of power is close to changing.  (Cultural Marxism has been about changing nearly all the belief systems of the culture as a necessay pre-condition to getting democratic acceptance of Marxism politically).

 

There are two aspects that are worth looking at: Some things should be viewed as existing over a spectrum instead of as being binary, and things can change over time.

 

1.)   The degree of rationality versus emotionalism in any given individual (on any given issue, at any given time) is a thing that should be viewed as "to what degree" because some very ideological people have gone from one side of an argument (over years, usually) to another.  Christopher Hitchens was a Christian, then a Communist, then a Conservative.

 

2.) Our culture evolves over time.  We learn new facts, establish new theories, and react to these new things.  As individuals exercise their rational faculties (or fail to), they form their ideas and in this fashion our culture evolves over time.  If we allow ourselves to become too disheartened or cynical over the fact that people often put group partisanship ahead of honesty, then we will have no way to understand changes for the better, or find the motivation to participate in positive changes.  When we understand that people are capable of choosing in favor of a more rational position, it encourages us to find better arguments (or, at the least, to get better at discriminating between those who are so willingly dishonest as be a waste of time from those who aren't).

 

Lastly, this all sums up the importance of restoring rationality to the educational systems - the schools.  As long as progressives control them, the ability to teach the young to think critically is lost and we end up with more people who are so partisan that they are willing to be dishonest in support of their ideology.



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Post 12

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 6:17amSanction this postReply
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Louisa May Alcott was a "penny-a-liner" making up lurid stories for New York city newspapers.  She was not alone among now-respected 19th century authors who earned money that way. The Pulitzer Prize was invented at Columbia University's School of Journalism from a bequest from the Pulitzer foundation.  But in reality, Joseph Pulitzer was every bit as dishonest as his rival, William Randolph Hearst.  Either man could have been the model for Citizen Kane or Ayn Rand's Gail Wynand.  No one expected much else from the press 100 years ago... or in the 100 years before that...  

 

When Thomas Jefferson said that he would prefer a society of newspapers without government to a society of government without newspapers, he was not endorsing the factual reporting of Pulitzer Prize winners.  He put his name behind what were only the ink-and-paper versions of barroom brawls.  And yet... that is where the Federalist debate played out.  Hamilton, Madison, and Jay wrote their essays for newspapers -- and did so anonymously as "Publius."   It remained incumbent upon the reader to evaluate the content.  

 

Personally, what I perceive in the "war on fake news" is an abdication of responsibility.  Generally speaking, no one wants to find out anything for themselves. They just want to be told what to believe = and be secure in that belief. And it is not just liberals or progressives or illegal aliens at the polling place.  I participate on the GaltsGulchOnline board. It is common there for posters to put up links from American Thinker, Breitbart, Glenn Beck, or lesser lights, but never check any facts with a simple Google search of the key words.  



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Post 13

Saturday, December 17, 2016 - 8:28pmSanction this postReply
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One hopes so however I got off of facebook because of what I was seeing from people I cared about - talk about mind numbed robots.  Too many are so ideologically minded that they just spew what each group says.  There is no search for what's true.  It doesn't matter if the dishonesty is revealed because winning is more important.  As long as the right group is in control of the sinking ship that's all that matters.

I find some parallels in The Fountainhead in The Banner, second handing, and when Rand talks about prestige.  It seems so many people are concerned with prestige or reputation they post on Facebook, leading second hand lives, and trying to derive self-esteem from it.  Projecting an image online of the self isn't necessarily the Self. 



Post 14

Tuesday, February 21 - 2:44pmSanction this postReply
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Here was "real news" by News Fakers on 9/11/2001. https://www.facebook.com/PoliticallyIncorrect1400  To see the 3 minute video, scroll down my facebook page to September 10, 2016--a task that requires maybe ten seconds. 

 

The video is of a BBC reporterette who announces to the televisiojn camera on 9/11/2001 that world trade center building no. 7 has just "collapsed". But the building--all 47 stories of it--can be clearly seen in the background as she utters those words. It remained standing for another twenty minutes. How's that for timely reporting?

 

Google tried to censor this embarassment, but internet sleuths were too fast and saved it with screen casts. So the video endures today, despite the best efforts of the News Fakers. This video is not internet or camera trickery. The reporterette later went on television explaining that well..she made a mistake. Hectic day and everything.

 

Ha ha ha ha. That's not fake laughter. 

 

If the reporterette were honest, I'd upgrade her title to news reporter. 

 

Incidentally, the News Fakers like to refer to the "collapse" of the twin towers and building 7. But that's deceptive language. Building 7 was not hit by an airliner. Like the Twin Towers, it too descended into its foot print at the rate of free fall. Millions of tons of concrete were pulverised into dust that spread for miles. Steel girders weighing many tons were hurled laterally with great force and stuck into neighboring buildings located handreds of yards away. Many eye witnesses including some equiped with video cameras told of and displayed explosions going off in a circular pattern. The janitor of one of the Towers was in the sub basement before the Tower descended into dust and rubble; he survived to report that the multi ton steel door blew out in the midst of an explosion that knocked him fifty feet across the floor. NYC firemen, policemen and other first responders reported about 150 eye witness sightings of explosions and other events consistent with demolition. It took two years before their reports could be made public, because a NYC judge issued an order prohibiting publication, finally over turned by another higher level judge. Much more evidence of demolition, but I'm out of time, except to point to the obvious: "collapse" means "blown to smithereens". 



Post 15

Wednesday, February 22 - 1:47amSanction this postReply
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Mark Humphrey,

 

The reporter saying that 7 went down before it actually did was pretty good.  But 7 falling down at free fall, as measured with the video evidence, is what convinces me absolutely.  A metal structure building cannot fall down at free fall into its own footprint unless all of its supports are simultaneously destroyed with explosives.  Explosives and an implosion cannot be performed in a few hours, especially after two buildings right beside it were just hit by planes and fell down.  Hence someone had a long time with long access to the buildings to set up explosives.  And the government and media for whatever reason do not want us to know this, instead they want us to think the building fell down in such a fashion due to an office fire.

 

I've said this a few times on this forum, but no one has come out and posted an agreement with me on this.

 

"Wizards First Rule":  "People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it's true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People's heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool."

 

Cheers,

Dean



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Post 16

Wednesday, February 22 - 7:04pmSanction this postReply
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFJa9WUy5QI



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