Gareth Davies' viral yarn about a Japanese man crushed to death by his porn collection has been proven false. Gizmodo's Matt Novak reports that it's about time Americans—and especially American media—realized that a lot of what the Daily Mail publishes is fabricated.
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But almost nothing about that headline is correct. The Daily Mail seems to have taken a sad story of a man’s death in Japan and added a few lies to make it more sensational. And from there it went viral, getting picked up by the likes of The Mirror, The Toronto Sun, CBS Philly, and Sky News Australia, among a host of others.
So what really happened? Recently a Japanese man was found dead in his apartment. The man lived alone and had been dead for a month before he was discovered. The coroner ruled that he’d died of a heart attack. How do we know the real story? It was reported in Nikkan Spa in Japan on February 28, 2017. The Daily Mail story was published on March 3, 2017.
The New York Times reports that it and at least two other media outlets, CNN and Politico, were barred today from a White House press event. Also locked out were the LA Times and Buzzfeed, writes Politico's Dan Diamond.
Journalists from The New York Times and two other news organizations were prohibited from attending a briefing by President Trump’s press secretary on Friday, a highly unusual breach of relations between the White House and its press corps.
Reporters from The Times, CNN and Politico were not allowed to enter the West Wing office of the press secretary, Sean M. Spicer, for the scheduled briefing. Aides to Mr. Spicer allowed in reporters from only a handpicked group of news organizations that, the White House said, had been previously confirmed to attend.
It's OK, though: Breitbart got in! Read the rest
You pays your money and you takes your choice with this week's tabloids.
"Crooked Hillary Will Die in Jail!" screams the 'Globe' cover, with a two-page exclusive inside predicting "Hillary's Prison Death Sentence!" You have to admire the Photoshopped picture of an ashen-faced Hillary, dark bags around her eyes, care-worn face furrowed with wrinkles, clad in an orange jumpsuit behind grey metal prison bars. It's harder to be impressed by the "new evidence that will put her away!" which supposedly will be supplied by former president Bill Clinton when he testifies before the Eastern District of New York grand jury investigating the Clinton Foundation -- testimony which he may never give. And that "death sentence"? That's simply the 'Globe' anticipating that "Bill's testimony sends her away for 20 years," and with her "killer medical ailments, even a 10-year stretch would be a death sentence."
But if you believe the 'National Enquirer' -- and who wouldn't? -- the future looks rosy for Hillary Clinton, who it forecasts could be the next Mayor of New York City. It "Could Happen" assures the 'Enquirer,' which calls her mayoral election "easy pickings."
Singer George Michael "turned to booze and drugs" after his voice was "destroyed" by pneumonia in 2011, leading to his tragic demise, reports the 'Globe.'
Or you can believe the 'Enquirer,' which insists: "Blackmail Demands Drove George To Suicide!" Supposedly Michael was "driven to suicide by sinister blackmail threats from a train of male lovers in his life." It's a typically homophobic allegation that makes little sense for a man who was openly and proudly gay, and had little to fear from exposure. Read the rest
How is “fake news” constructed? This week's ‘National Enquirer’ gives us a shining example of how it’s done.
Filling its cover is a somber photo of the late George Michael in repose, eyes closed, finally at peace.
“George Michael - The Last Photo!” screams the headline, below the shocking revelation: “Pop Icon’s Suicide Note Found."
Those are two great exclusives. If only they were true.
The photo of the singer apparently lying in his casket was actually taken two months before his death. In the original photo he was standing, but the ‘Enquirer’ simply turned the image on its side. George Michael was blinking when the picture was taken - an image that would normally be discarded, but useful in this instance to give the impression that he was at his final rest.
As for his “suicide note,” it doesn’t exist.
“I’m going insane, and I know there’s another way to do this,” the ‘Enquirer’ claims he wrote in his alleged suicide note. “I swear to God it was like I had a curse on me.”
The first line is actually an old quote made by the singer recalling his sadness after the death of his lover Anselmo Feleppa from an Aids-related illness, and then his beloved mother’s demise, between 1994 to 1997.
In the same breath, Michael had said back then: “I’d have to be seriously mentally disturbed to even consider suicide because of what it would do to the people who were already devastated from losing my mother.”
Michael’s quote about feeling that he was laboring under a “curse” came from an interview he gave to ‘The Guardian’ in 2005 - not a suicide note as the ‘Enquirer’ claims. Read the rest
Yesterday, Donald Trump claimed to have gotten Sprint to bring 5,000 jobs back to America. This claim is false; the jobs have been coming for months. But a lot of media instantly published Trump's claim, many with Trump as the sole source and no reporting or fact-checking whatosever.
Trump and Sprint simply put out PR and everyone rewrote it. Sprint ignored inquiries from reporters who figured it out, only admitting that the jobs were "previously announced" after the company became the story and things started getting hot.
When I reached out to a Sprint spokeswoman asking if the announcement was a direct result of working with Trump or part of a pre-existing deal, she copy and pasted the press release I'd sent along with my first email. I responded saying I already had the press release and asked again if this was a direct result of working with Trump or part of a pre-existing deal in place. I tagged Sprint in a tweet about the situation, and it wasn't until after that started getting retweeted that the spokesperson responded.
"This is part of the 50,000 jobs that Masa previously announced," she said. "This total will be a combination of newly created jobs and bringing some existing jobs back to the U.S."
This is how it's going to be: he lies, and reporters instantly launder the statement into impartial-sounding headlines in the rush to be first. The excuse will be that stenography is journalism.
Get used to this sort of thing:
Trump Takes Credit for Sprint Plan to Add 5,000 Jobs in U.S.Read the rest
It’s that time of year when we look back on those we’ve loved and lost in 2016, but for the tabloids, it’s worth remembering those we haven’t lost - the stars we were promised had just days to live, yet who refuse to play the game and are still with us.
Nick Nolte, Cher, Jerry Lewis, Valerie Harper - all were given just weeks to live, yet defy the highly trained medical reporting teams of America's best tabloids.
For one moment set aside thoughts of David Bowie, Prince, George Michael and Carrie Fisher. Let’s take a break from mourning Zsa Zsa Gabor, the inspiration for celebutantes from Kim Kardashian to Paris Hilton, taken before her prime at the age of 99, with so much left to live for. Instead, let’s spare a moment of compassion for those poor tabloid hacks who wonder why their predictions of celebrity demise have proven so wrong. “Michael Douglas - The End!” screamed the ‘National Enquirer’ cover on March 28, 2016. He’s still with us.
“Michael J Fox - The End!” yelled the ‘Globe' front page on April 4. Also still with us.
With their expert medical knowledge and years of psychic training, tabloid reporters can often predict to the day how long an ailing celebrity has left.
‘Valerie Harper - 2 Months To Live!” reported the ‘Globe’ on its cover of February 1. It’s been almost ten months, and she’s still here.
“Michael Douglas Cancer Relapse - 3 Months To Live!” stated the cover of the ‘Enquirer’ on February 8. Read the rest
We hope you can join us for this urgent conversation hosted by Institute for the Future, where Mark Frauenfelder and I are researchers:
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Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, California invites you to join us January 10, 2017 for an eye-opening discussion about global politics, corruption, and our best hope for preserving civic society featuring:
• Masha Gessen, author of The Man Without a Face: the Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin and Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot
• Drew Sullivan, co-founder of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP)
• plus additional investigative journalists from Russia and Eastern Europe.Right-wing populist parties and autocratic leaders are gaining power in many countries, from France and Russia to Hungary and Poland. This trend long predates the recent U.S. elections that have added fuel to the fire. How did we get here? What are the real stories behind the headlines? This is a rare opportunity to hear first-hand from journalists who risk their lives analyzing the multi-trillion dollar criminal economy and uncovering corruption around the globe.
This group of journalists, along with other experts from the realms of media, academia, policy, and technology, are in the Bay Area to participate in a private convening hosted by the Institute for the Future in partnership with the Skoll Foundation and OCCRP. The convening, called The Future of Democracy: Preserving A Vibrant Civic Media, will result in a public roadmap of initiatives to preserve an open civic dialogue and strengthen democracy for everyone.
What happens when the tabloids hit bottom? We find out this week, when the ‘Globe’ brings us five photo-filled pages of the “worst butts in showbiz,” along with some of the worst picture captions and most labored puns accompanying celebrity derrieres..
Heidi Klum’s posterior is “frolicking at the crack of dawn,” Blac Chyna has “all the junk in that trunk,” Halle Berry’s rear “deserves a SAG award,” Amber Rose has a “caboose on the loose,” and singer Kesha needs help “to stop her wide load from expanding.”
Such deathless prose is matched for ineptitude by the magazine’s far-fetched “world exclusive” cover screaming: “Charles on trial for Diana’s Murder!” and the ensuing story claiming: “Prince Charles has been arrested by military police for the murder of Princess Diana.” The ‘Globe’ reports that “a top-secret tribunal” has been convened by Charles’ mother, the Queen. It’s a great story, except for the small detail that the Queen cannot convene military tribunals, that such a tribunal would have no reason to arrest Charles on criminal charges when that’s the job of the regular police, and a 2013 Scotland Yard investigation into allegations that a member of the British Armed Forces played a role in Diana’s death failed to inspire any charges.
The British Royal Family stay in the tabloid cross-hairs in the ‘National Enquirer,’ which reports that photos of actress Meghan Markle “caught topless on a beach with another man” could destroy her blossoming romance with Prince Harry and “could make Queen blow her top.” The bare-breasted photo was taken in 2005, however, 11 years before Markle met Harry, and it’s not as if we’ve never seen Royals scantily clad before. Read the rest
Because of an editing error, an article on Monday about a theological battle being fought by Muslim imams and scholars in the West against the Islamic State misstated the Snapchat handle used by Suhaib Webb, one of the Muslim leaders speaking out. It is imamsuhaibwebb, not Pimpin4Paradise786.
Times corrections are often clever and succinct works of journalism in their own right. But most "corrections" are just the consequences of humorous typos, math errors, jumbled names, etc.
What's great about it all, though, is how pretty much everything in the corrections roundup is so trivial. Good to know the media's been correct of late on all the big things.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Comments attributed to a Trump campaign spokeswoman were removed from an earlier version of this story at her request after she learned she would be identified by name.Read the rest
The election may be over, but this week's tabloids see it as their constitutional duty to continue slinging political mud. Donald Trump has taken charge, Malia Obama is in rehab, and Bill Clinton is ravaged by cancer, proclaims this week’s Trump mouthpiece the ‘National Enquirer,' for good measure adding that actor Alec Baldwin only dislikes Trump because his ex-wife Kim Basinger had a crush on the president-elect. How happy is the ‘Enquirer’ with its past year’s political coverage? "The Enquirer forged into the political arena in a way we had never done before, influencing the election with scoop after groundbreaking scoop,” writes ‘Enquirer’ editor-in-chief Dylan Howard in a self-congratulatory op ed, no doubt referring to such classics as the magazine's unsubstantiated claims that Ted Cruz’s father aided Lee Harvey Oswald’s assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Hillary Clinton is suffering an array of potentially lethal illnesses including a “time bomb” brain aneurysm, and Bill Clinton has Alzheimer’s disease. “Mainstream media is the Real Fake News!” writes “the most feared voice in politics," former White House advisor Dick Morris, in the ‘Enquirer,’ which may be the embodiment of Orwellian Newspeak, when the birthplace of fake news dares to claim that it is the only purveyor of truth. ‘Enquirer’ stablemate the ‘Globe’ refuses to be left out of the fun, with its cover revealing “Hillary’s Nervous Breakdown on Election Night!” As Trump’s improbable victory became clear on election day, Hillary “became more and more unhinged and ‘started belting back booze to numb her shock’,” until she was “weeping and incoherent,” according to an unnamed source. Read the rest
Fidel Castro confessed on his deathbed to killing JFK, Prince Harry has impregnated his American actress girlfriend, Priscilla Presley has six months to live, and President Donald Trump will save 25 million jobs.
Those are the headlines in this week’s tabloids, and it’s salutary to see Trump’s wild imaginings promulgated alongside equally fact-challenged celebrity “news.”
Does the ‘National Enquirer’ really have an unnamed “American intelligence source” with inside information about the Cuban dictator’s supposedly whispered final words? There’s about as much chance as the ‘Globe’ having a Buckingham Palace mole revealing that Prince Harry has impregnated Meghan Markle, or that Prince Charles urged his youngest son “to come to his senses and buy off the bimbo.”
Any why does Priscilla Presley have only six months to live? She’s being killed by a “toxic facelift,” claims the ‘Globe,’ inspired by photographs analyzed by its crack team of medically-trained psychic reporters. Yes, facial fillers can sometimes spark infections that in rare cases prove fatal, but saying that Presley is dying simply because she may have had cosmetic procedures is like saying that someone is dying of cancer simply because they once smoked a cigarette. And Priscilla Presley shouldn’t be allowed to die while we’re still waiting for Nick Nolte to pass away, having outlived his ‘Enquirer’ predicted demise by four months, and Cher’s promised shuffling off of her mortal coil before the New Year.
It’s that time of year when the tabloids just say WTF and fill pages with retrospectives of the past 12 months, because it’s easier than making up new stories. Read the rest
Mr Robot is the most successful example of a small but fast-growing genre of "techno-realist" media, where the focus is on realistic portrayals of hackers, information security, surveillance and privacy, and it represents a huge reversal on the usual portrayal of hackers and computers as convenient plot elements whose details can be finessed to meet the story's demands, without regard to reality. Read the rest