What some of the geniuses at the fake-ass 'free the states' coronavirus spreading rallies are saying

I really don't know what to say here. This is so demented, and so awful, I just can't even. Read the rest

John Oliver on how right-wing disinformation is making the pandemic worse

On the YouTube description of the latest episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: "As COVID-19 continues to dominate the news cycle, John Oliver looks at the various sources of misinformation about the disease - from televangelists and the right wing media, to President Trump himself."

If you want to see something really scary, scroll to 3:30 in the video. (That's Kenneth Copeland by the way, who is worth $300 million and owns a $260,000 Maserati). Read the rest

Watch 'Dr. Phil,' no medical license, rant COVID-19 falsehoods on Fox News

Wow, Dr. Phil is awful. Mister Phil, really. Gentle reminder than “Dr. Phil” is not a licensed doctor. Read the rest

Russia's health disinformation campaign against U.S. has been going on for 10+ years — NYT

“'The difference now is the speed with which it spreads, and the denigration of the institutions that we rely on to understand the truth. I think we're in dangerous territory.'”

Don't miss the New York Times investigation detailing Russia's decade-long health disinformation campaign against the United States and other Western democracies, using social media and news outlets to sow confusion and hurt institutions. Read the rest

Bleach and cocaine do not a coronavirus cure make

Look, I know that it's frigging hard to find hand sanitizer and toilet paper right now, but maybe ease back on the stick before you do anything extreme in the name of avoiding the Coronavirus. It should go without saying that doing a few rails and chugging bleach aren't going to cure much of anything, except, in the right quantities, a severe case of stupid. Read the rest

Twitter uses 'manipulated media' label for first time on clipped Biden video RTd by by Trump

It's about freaking time. Read the rest

Trump campaign buys '$1M+ a day' YouTube election day masthead ads: Reports

In the days leading up to the U.S. presidential election and on Election Day, YouTube's homepage will reportedly be advertising only one candidate: Donald Trump. Read the rest

Trump mad that U.S. intel briefed lawmakers on Russian military attack on 2020 elections

• U.S. intelligence briefed House on Russia to ensure Trump's re-election. • Classified briefing to lawmakers made Trump angry • Trump said Democrats would “weaponize” news of Russian military campaign • Trump was mad DNI Joseph Maguire would let staff appear • That's why Maguire's out, Richard Grenell's in as 'acting' DNI.

In Washington last week, U.S. intelligence officials told lawmakers that Russia is carrying out a military-grade attack on the 2020 elections, with the goal of making Americans doubt the integrity of the vote and ensure re-election for impeached, manifestly unfit and corrupt President Donald Trump, Reuters reported Thursday. Read the rest

Leaked Twitter demo shows red banners to indicate lies and disinformation under tweets

A leaked demo has bright red and orange marks on 'harmfully misleading' tweets

Fake news network stole from legit sites, flooded Google News and Alerts. Report blames NASDAQ & Thomson Reuters ex-employees.

“As they stole stories from real newspapers, these sites baffled scientists, activists, and journalists. Until now.”

Disinformation 2020: FBI warns of ongoing Russian 'information warfare'

“They identify an issue that they know that the American people feel passionately about on both sides and then they take both sides and spin them up so they pit us against each other. And then they combine that with an effort to weaken our confidence in our elections and our democratic institutions which has been a pernicious and asymmetric way of engaging in affect information warfare.”

— FBI Director Chris Wray, Feb. 5, 2020

On Wednesday, FBI Director Chris Wray said Russia is targeting Americans with an ongoing “information warfare” campaign that is likely to intensify as the nation heads into the 2020 presidential election. Read the rest

Congress to Google's Sundar Pichai: Deal with climate change disinfo on YouTube

Congress is urging Google to take long-overdue action to stamp out ‘dangerous climate misinformation’ on YouTube. Read the rest

Antivax propaganda is eroding support for childhood vaccines

A new Gallup poll reveals a decline in the percentage of Americans who think childhood vaccinations are important.

Widespread public support for childhood vaccines creates a wall preventing contagious diseases like measles and polio from spreading in the U.S., but a breach in that wall appeared in 2015 and it has not been repaired. A recent Gallup survey finds 84% of Americans saying it is extremely or very important that parents vaccinate their children. That matches Gallup's prior reading in 2015 but is down from 94% in 2001.

Thanks, Facebook!

Image: Buzzfeed Read the rest

Facebook promised to provide academics data to study disinformation, but their foot-dragging has endangered the whole project

Social Science One is an academic consortium that was created to conduct "independent scientific research into potentially consequential phenomena such as online disinformation, polarization, and echo chambers" after the Big Tech platforms made changes to their policies that made this kind of research effectively impossible without cooperation from the platforms themselves. Read the rest

Revisiting Operation Mindfuck

Over at Medium, BB pal Douglas Rushkoff explores how today's propaganda -- born in the 17th century to propagate the Catholic faith and reborn in the 20th century as "public relations" -- is no longer about convincing people to believe in whatever story the source happens to be selling. Today, Doug writes, "the primary goal of government propaganda is to undermine our faith in everything. Not just our belief in particular stories in the news, but our trust in the people who are telling the stories, the platforms, and fact-based reality itself." Interestingly, he traces this kind of systematic reality disruption to the counterculture. From Medium:

Before Watergate anyway, it felt as if the press and the government were on the same side, telling the same story to us all. There was no way for the underfunded counterculture to compete with mainstream reality programming—except by undermining its premises. The flower children couldn’t overwhelm Richard Nixon’s National Guard troops, but they could put daisies in the barrels of their rifles.

Taken to the extreme, this sort of activist satire became Operation Mindfuck, first announced in 1975 by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea in their Illuminatus Trilogy!. The idea was to undermine people’s faith in government, authority, and the sanctity of consensus reality itself by pranking everything, all the time.

The idea of Operation Mindfuck was to break the trance that kept America at war, blindly consuming, and oblivious to its impact on the rest of the world. Destabilize the dominant cultural narrative through pranks and confusion.

Read the rest

​Twitter is awash in disinformation bots tweeting lies about the Kentucky gubernatorial election results

It's a preview of just how badly things could go in 2020: the Kentucky gubernatorial race was narrowly decided for the Democratic candidate Andy Beshear, but the monumentally unpopular Trumpist incumbent Matt Bevin will not concede, and instead, he is repeating the Trumpist lie that "voter fraud" caused him to lose his office. Read the rest

The Internet Archive's massive repository of scanned books will help Wikipedia fight the disinformation wars

For years, the Internet Archive has been acquiring books (their goal is every book ever published) and warehousing them and scanning them. Now, these books are being "woven into Wikipedia" with a new tool that automatically links every Wikipedia citation to a print source to the exact page and passage from the book itself, which can be read on the Internet Archive. Read the rest

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