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Mass Media News Articles
Excerpts of Key Mass Media News Articles in Media


Below are highly revealing excerpts of important mass media news articles from the major media suggesting a cover-up. Links are provided to the full news articles for verification. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These mass media news articles are listed by order of importance. You can also explore the articles listed by order of the date of the news article or by the date posted. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on dozens of engaging topics. And read excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.


Washington's press is the cabin boy of the political class
2012-08-03, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/03/washington-press-corp-cab...

The Washington press corps ... is too caught up in its own self-importance and petty competition to understand it has become the cabin boy of the political class. Washington reporters are co-conspirators in an ongoing fraud. The epidemic of blind quotes is a standard way of giving a platform to officials speaking in an official capacity, yet with zero accountability. The practice is also supremely manipulative, giving the most banal information the allure of forbidden fruit. At its worst, the game can allow the vice president of the United States to leak phony intelligence to the New York Times and later refer back to the leak as independent journalistic confirmation, leading to invasion and hundreds of thousands of deaths and a trillion dollars in squandered treasure. The Iraq disgrace aside, obscuring official sources might be understandable if this journalistic worst practice were in the service of earth-shaking news. It almost never is. The blind quotes, though, are not even the worst of it. The New York Times recently revealed that reporters are not merely working on background, they negotiate after interviews what comments may be used and send them to sources for prepublication approval. The sources routinely edit those quotes before turning them back over to news organisations. As media ethicist Edward Wasserman so aptly put it, "At this point you're no longer talking about an interview; you're talking about a press release … And what happens is Washington becomes no different from Beijing, in terms of reporting what authorities want reported".

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable sources on mass media corruption, click here.


What is Media Manipulation? A Definition and Explanation
2012-07-16, Forbes
http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanholiday/2012/07/16/what-is-media-manipulation...

Media manipulation currently shapes everything you read, hear and watch online. Everything. In the old days, we only had a few threats to fear when it came to media manipulation: the government propagandist and the hustling publicist. They exploited the fact that the media was trusted and reliable. Today, with our blog and web driven media cycle, nothing can escape exaggeration, distortion, fabrication and simplification. Media manipulation is the status quo. It becomes, as Daniel Boorstin, author [of] The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America, once put it, a "thicket ... which stands between us and the facts of life." Today the media -— driven by blogs -— is assailed on all sides, by the crushing economics of their business, dishonest sources, inhuman deadlines, pageview quotas, inaccurate information, greedy publishers, poor training, the demands of the audience, and so much more. These incentives are real, whether you’re the Huffington Post or CNN or some tiny blog. They warp everything you read online. Everyone is in on the game, from bloggers to non-profits to marketers to the New York Times itself. And when everyone is running the same racket, the line between the real and the fake becomes indistinguishable. Media manipulation exploits the difference between perception and reality. This all happens because of the poor incentives. When readers don’t PAY for news, the creators of the news don’t have any loyalty to the readers. To combat these manipulations, we must change the incentives. If we want loyalty to the truth, we must be loyal to the people who provide us with it. This probably means paying for information in one form or another.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable sources on mass media cover-ups and distortions, click here. Thanks to the generous support of our readers and our lack of advertising, WantToKnow.info is one of the few news sources not subject to pressure from financial incentives which drive news manipulation for others. To support our work so that we can continue to be free of these market pressures, click here.


Health care outrage goes uncovered
2009-06-19, CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/06/19/begala.health.care/index.html

You probably have never heard of Robin Beaton, and that's what's wrong with the debate over health care reform. Beaton, a retired nurse from Waxahachie, Texas, had health insurance -- or so she thought. She paid her premiums faithfully every month, but when she was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, her health insurance company, Blue Cross, dumped her. The insurance company said the fact that she had seen a dermatologist for acne, who mistakenly entered a notation on her chart that suggested her simple acne was a precancerous condition, allowed Blue Cross to leave her in the lurch. Beaton testified before a House subcommittee this week. So did other Americans who thought they had insurance but got the shaft. The subcommittee's chairman, Democrat Bart Stupak of Michigan, called the hearing to highlight the obnoxious and unethical practice called rescission. His researchers produced performance reviews of insurance company bureaucrats who were praised and rewarded for kicking people off their coverage. Then Stupak asked three health insurance executives the big question: Will your company pledge to end the practice of rescission except in cases of intentional fraud? All three health insurance executives said no. It was as dramatic as congressional testimony gets. Yet it got no airtime on the networks, nor, as far as I can tell, on cable news, although CNN.com did run a story. The story did not make The New York Times. Nor The Washington Post, which found space on the front page the morning after the hearing for a story on the cancellation of Fourth of July fireworks in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, but not a story on the cancellation of health insurance for deathly ill Americans who've paid their premiums.

Note: For lots more on corruption in the health industry, click here.


Some see media flu coverage as overblown
2009-05-03, San Francisco Chronicle
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2009/05/03/MN3B17CKP7.DTL

After a few days of breathless H1N1 flu coverage - some of it on his own network - CNN commentator Jack Cafferty noted that 13,000 people have died from the "regular ol' flu" this year in the United States, compared with just one confirmed H1N1 flu death. Cafferty then asked his audience to respond to his online poll asking "if swine flu coverage was overblown." He waited a moment, then said, "Hint: Yes." For a week, the flu story has whet cable TV's bloodlust with what the 24-hour cable news vacuum craves: mystery, death and great visuals that inspire fear. "Frankly, I've been a little horrified by how sensationalist and scare-mongering it is," said Vivian Schiller, chief executive officer of National Public Radio. No detail about the flu - often delivered without context - has been too tiny to go unreported, which means that cable TV viewers are getting coverage that is moment-to-moment but often not terribly useful. Conservative talk radio hosts have used fear about the flu to segue to anti-immigrant remarks and calls to close the U.S.-Mexico border.Just when the coverage appeared to be calming a bit Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden helped rekindle fears by saying on the "Today'" show that he "would tell members of my family - and I have - I wouldn't go anywhere in confined places now." Health stories always attract huge audiences, said Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center. But viewers shouldn't expect as much breathless coverage when Congress begins debating an overhaul of the U.S. health care system over the next few months.

Note: For an excellent article showing how media fear-mongering of this and past flu emergencies have brought unprecedented profits to the pharmaceutical companies, click here.


Controversy and conspiracies
2008-07-02, BBC News
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2008/07/controversy_conspiracies_iii.html

World Trade Center Building 7 has become the subject of heated speculation and a host of conspiracy theories suggesting it was brought down by a controlled demolition. And some people suggest it was not just the government and foreign intelligence, but ... even the media that were involved. It is certainly true that on 9/11 the BBC broadcast that WTC7 had collapsed when it was still standing. Then the satellite transmission seemed to cut out mysteriously when the correspondent was still talking. Then [head of BBC News] Richard Porter admitted in his blog last year that the BBC had lost those key tapes of BBC World News output from the day. The internet movie Loose Change has been viewed by more than 100 million people according to its makers and it asks this question in the latest film release: "Where did CNN and the BBC get their information especially considering the building was still standing directly behind their reporters?" It turns out that the respected news agency Reuters picked up an incorrect report and passed it on. They have issued this statement: "On 11 September 2001 Reuters incorrectly reported that one of the buildings at the New York World Trade Center, 7WTC, had collapsed before it actually did. The report was picked up from a local news story and was withdrawn as soon as it emerged that the building had not fallen." And the reason the interview with the BBC correspondent, Jane Standley, ended so abruptly? The satellite feed had an electronic timer, which cut out at 1715 exactly.

Note: How many "coincidences" does it take for people to start to ask questions? How could people know that the building was going to collapse when a skyscraper had never collapsed before from fire? For a useful BBC FAQ on 9/11 alternative theories, click here.


Assault on Press Freedom
2006-11-26, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/11/26/INGAKMHOCV1.DTL

In a nation that preaches the virtues of democracy, the United States government has consistently eroded the media's ability to report. U.S. press freedom has been slipping away since Sept. 11, 2001. Many other countries are now ranked freer than the United States. In the most recent survey by Freedom House [the U.S.] tied for 17th place. International free-press advocates Reporters Without Borders ranked us 53rd, tied with Botswana, Croatia and Tonga. Now that we are in a seemingly permanent "war" on terrorism, the government claims wartime powers that result in restricting press freedom. The Bush administration has multiplied exponentially the number of documents it classifies as secret. The office of Vice President Dick Cheney claims to be exempt from reporting even the numbers of records it brands with the "classified" stamp. Within weeks after 9/11, President Bush issued Executive Order 13233, allowing him to veto public release not only of his own presidential papers but those of former [presidents]. One of former Attorney General John Ashcroft's first post-Sept. 11 acts was to issue a directive to federal agencies restricting access to government records under the Freedom of Information Act. Cheney [refused] to disclose even the identity of the corporate executives he met with to determine the administration's energy policy. The U.S. Supreme Court held ... that there is no such thing as a First Amendment right of access to government information or facilities. The Bush administration did not advance press freedom by producing ... favorable "news" stories with fake reporters. It is hard to stomach the hypocrisy of claiming to spread democracy abroad while restricting at home the very freedoms that make democracy possible.


Getting closer to Uncle Sam
2006-09-20, Toronto Star (One of Canada's top newspapers)
http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Articl...

Public kept in dark as business leads talks about North American integration. Away from the spotlight, from Sept. 12 to 14, in Banff Springs, Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day and Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor met with U.S. and Mexican government officials and business leaders to discuss North American integration at the second North American Forum. The guest list included such prominent figures as U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Mexican Secretary of Public Security Eduardo Medina Mora and Canadian Forces chief General Rick Hillier. The event was chaired by former U.S. secretary of state George Schultz, former Alberta premier, Peter Lougheed and former Mexican finance minister Pedro Aspe. Organizers did not alert the media about the event. Our government ... refuses to release any information about the content of the discussions or the actors involved. The event was organized by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. The media have paid little attention to this far-reaching agreement, so Canadians are unaware that a dozen working groups are currently "harmonizing" Canadian and U.S. regulations on everything from food to drugs to the environment and even more contentious issues like foreign policy. This process ... is about priming North America for better business by weakening the impacts of such perceived obstacles as environmental standards and labour rights. This is why the public has been kept in the dark while the business elite has played a leading role in designing the blueprint for this more integrated North America.

Note: If the above link fails, click here. Why has the U.S. media not covered this key topic? For a second article discussing this secret meeting on a top Canadian TV website, click here. To learn about other secret meetings of the power elite, click here


Lifting the Censor's Veil on the Shame of Iraq
2005-05-05, New York Times
http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F00914FC3C540C768CDDAC0894DD4...

There was a close-up of a soldier who was holding someone's severed leg. There were photos of G.I.'s happily posing with the bodies of dead Iraqis. This is what happens in war. It's the sickening reality that is seldom seen in the censored, sanitized version of the conflict that Americans typically get from the government and the media. Mr. Delgado, 23, is a former Army reservist who was repelled by the violence and dehumanization of the war. He completed his tour in Iraq. But he sought and received conscientious objector status and was honorably discharged last January. Some of the most disturbing photos in his possession were taken after G.I.'s at Abu Ghraib opened fire on detainees who had been throwing rocks at guards during a large protest. Four detainees were killed. The photos show American soldiers posing and goofing around with the bodies of the detainees. In one shot ... a G.I. is leaning over the top of the body bag with a spoon in his right hand, as if he is about to scoop up a portion of the dead man's wounded flesh. "These pictures were circulated like trophies," Mr. Delgado said. Some were posted in command headquarters. But while at work in a headquarters office, he said, he learned that most of the detainees at Abu Ghraib had committed only very minor nonviolent offenses, or no offenses at all. (Several investigations would subsequently reveal that vast numbers of completely innocent Iraqis were seized and detained by coalition forces.) His goal, he said, is to convince his listeners that the abuse of innocent Iraqis by the American military is not limited to "a few bad apples," as the military would like the public to believe.

Note: If the above link fails, click here. For more on war manipulations and the suffering of our soldiers by a highly decorated U.S. general, click here.


A Hidden Story Behind Sept. 11? One Man's Ad Campaign Says So
2004-11-08, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/08/nyregion/08ads.html?ex=1257656400&en=730dbc...

The grainy 30-second commercials ... suggest a government cover-up of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The advertisements, which ran repeatedly ... on several cable networks, including CNN, Fox News and ESPN, offer a Web site, an address and a phone number. The ads are the latest salvo from James W. Walter ... who over the years has financed programs promoting voter registration in low-income neighborhoods and prison reform. The television commercials, as well as ads in magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Daily News, are part of a $3 million national campaign paid for by Mr. Walter in an effort to press for the reopening of the investigation by the independent Sept. 11 commission. "We've never gotten solid answers on why Tower 7 collapsed when it was two full blocks away from where the planes hit," he said. "We've also never received an answer for how such a large plane left such a small hole in the side of the Pentagon." A Zogby poll of New Yorkers' opinions about the 9/11 investigation, released last month, indicated that 49 percent of New York City residents and 41 percent of New York state residents believed that some federal officials "knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act." The poll also found that 66 percent of New York City residents and 56 percent of state residents wanted a fuller investigation of the "still unanswered questions."

Note: For lots more reliable information suggesting a major cover-up of 9/11, click here.


Maybe It Stands for War's Mission Disputed
2003-06-08, WantToKnow.info/Minneapolis Star Tribune
http://www.WantToKnow.info/disappearededitorial

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." Vice President Dick Cheney, Aug. 26, 2002 [White House website] "Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent." President Bush, Jan. 28, 2003 [St. Petersburg Times website] "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised." President Bush, March 17, 2003 [White House website] "There is no doubt that the regime of Saddam Hussein possesses weapons of mass destruction. As this operation continues, those weapons will be identified, found, along with the people who have produced them and who guard them." Gen. Tommy Franks, March 22, 2003 [Washington Post] "They may have had time to destroy them, and I don't know the answer." Donald Rumsfeld, May 27, 2003 [Washington Post website]"For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction [as justification for invading Iraq] because it was the one reason everyone could agree on." Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, May 28, 2003 [CNN website]

Note: This article was published on the front page of the editorial section in the June 8, 2003 edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Yet within weeks of its publication it disappeared from their website. Why have the media so avoided these most important facts? For an enlightening answer to this question, a powerful article by a highly decorated U.S. general is available here.


Today's News Is Brought to You by Big Brother
2000-02-27, Los Angeles Times
http://www.wanttoknow.info/mass_media/CNN-psyops-la-times-000327

A handful of military personnel from the 4th Psychological Operations Group, based at Fort Bragg, NC, have until recently been working in CNN's headquarters in Atlanta. [A] Dutch journalist named Abe de Vries came up with this important story ... and remains properly astounded that no mainstream news medium in the US has evinced any interest in it. De Vries ... originally [came] upon the story [following] a military symposium in Arlington, VA that discussed the use of the press in military operations. De Vries saw a good story, picked up the phone, and finally reached Maj. Thomas Collins of the US Army Information Service, who duly confirmed the presence of these Army psy-ops experts at CNN. "Psy-ops personnel, soldiers, and officers," De Vries quoted Collins as telling him, "have been working in CNN's headquarters ... through our program, training with industry. They helped in the production of news." Eason Jordan, who identified himself as CNN's president of news-gathering and international networks, [confirmed] that CNN had hosted a total of five interns from US Army psy-ops. Jordan said the program began ... just before the end of the war against Serbia and only recently terminated. Executives at CNN now describe the Army psy-ops intern tours at CNN as having been insignificant. The commanding officer of the psy-ops group certainly thought them of sufficient significance to mention at that high-level Pentagon powwow in Arlington about propaganda and psychological warfare.

Note: This article strangely has been removed from the Los Angeles Times archives. The link above shows a scanned image of the actual newspaper. The article was first published in the San Jose Mercury News on March 23, 2000, though the article is also strangely not available in their archives. U.S. Congressional testimony in the 1970s revealed that the CIA paid employees of major media networks to influence public opinion. The CIA's Operation Mockingbird revealed blatant efforts by the CIA to manipulate public opinion in the U.S., thus violating its charter.


The Intra-Administration War in Vietnam
1963-10-02, New York Times
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9500E0DB1030EF3BBC4B53DFB66783...

The Central Intelligence Agency is getting a very bad press in dispatches from Vietnam to American newspapers and in articles originating in Washington. The agency is precluded from [giving] information to the press, under a seal of confidence, that challenges or refutes the critics ... because to do so would require some disclosure of its activities. Every President since the C.I.A. was created has protected this secrecy. This Presidential policy has not, however, always restrained other executive units from going confidentially to the press with attacks on C.I.A. operations. The peak of the practice has recently been reached in Vietnam and in Washington. This is revealed almost every day now in dispatches from reporters ... with excellent reputations for reliability. One reporter in this category is Richard Starnes, [who] related that, "according to a high United States source here, twice the C.I.A. flatly refused to carry out instructions from Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge ... [and] in one instance frustrated a plan of action Mr. Lodge brought from Washington because the agency disagreed with it." Among the views attributed to United States officials on the scene, including one described as a "very high American official ... are the following: The C.I.A.'s growth was "likened to a malignancy" which the "very high official was not sure even the White House could control ... any longer." "If the United States ever experiences [an attempt at a coup to overthrow the Government] it will come from the C.I.A. and not the Pentagon." The agency "represents a tremendous power and total unaccountability to anyone.

Note: The NY Times requires payment to view the above article in full. You can find it available free of charge on this webpage. Note the date of this article, just weeks before JFK was assassinated. Watch an excellent documentary titled "The Killing of a President," which presents huge amounts of evidence, including eye-witness testimony, which shows that JFK could not have been killed by Oswald. You can find an abundance of reliable resources on the JFK assassination in our information center on this topic.


Moore Asks Inquiry Into Charges on Preparedness Campaign
1917-02-14, New York Times
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9504E7DA1538EE32A25757C1A9649C...

A demand for an investigation of charges printed in the Congressional Record by Representative Oscar Callaway of Texas, a pacifist Democrat, that “the J.P. Morgan interests, the steel shipbuilding, and powder interests” had purchased control of twenty-five great newspapers to further the preparedness campaign, was made in the House today by Representative J. Hampton Moore, a Pennsylvania Republican. Mr. Callaway’s speech, as inserted in The Record charged: “In March, 1915, the J.P. Morgan interests, the steel, shipbuilding and powder interests, and their subsidiary organizations got together twelve men high up in the newspaper world and employed them to select from the most influential papers in the United States in sufficient numbers of them to control generally the policy of the daily press of the United States. They found it was only necessary to purchase the control of twenty-five of the greatest newspapers. [An] editor was furnished for each paper to properly supervise and edit information regarding the questions of preparedness, militarism, financial policies and other things of national and international nature considered vital to the interests of the purchasers. The policy also included the suppression of everything in opposition to the wishes of the interests served."

Note: For more showing how the media is controlled by carefully selected people placed by big money and the power elite, click here and here. For a short video of Congressional testimony from the 1970s proving CIA media manipulation, click here. The full text of this revealing article is available free at this link.


The Follower Factory
2018-01-27, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/01/27/technology/social-media-bots.html

An obscure American company named Devumi ... has collected millions of dollars in a shadowy global marketplace for social media fraud. Devumi sells Twitter followers and retweets to celebrities, businesses and anyone who wants to appear more popular or exert influence online. Drawing on an estimated stock of at least 3.5 million automated accounts, each sold many times over, the company has provided customers with more than 200 million Twitter followers. The accounts that most resemble real people ... reveal a kind of large-scale social identity theft. At least 55,000 of the accounts use the names, profile pictures, hometowns and other personal details of real Twitter users, including minors. Fake accounts, deployed by governments, criminals and entrepreneurs, now infest social media networks. As many as 48 million of Twitter’s reported active users ... are automated accounts designed to simulate real people. In November, Facebook disclosed ... that it had at least twice as many fake users as it previously estimated. Up to 60 million automated accounts may roam the world’s largest social media platform. Devumi has more than 200,000 customers, including reality television stars, professional athletes, comedians, TED speakers, pastors and models. Devumi’s fake followers also serve as phantom foot soldiers in political battles online. Devumi’s customers include both avid supporters and fervent critics of President Trump, and both liberal cable pundits and a reporter at the alt-right bastion Breitbart.

Note: The use of social media to manipulate public perception has reportedly influenced recent elections in Latin America, the UK, and the US. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


New York Attorney General to Investigate Firm That Sells Fake Followers
2018-01-27, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/27/technology/schneiderman-social-media-bots....

The New York attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, on Saturday opened an investigation into a company that sold millions of fake followers on social media platforms, some of them copying real users’ personal information. The company, Devumi, and its sale of automated followers to a swath of celebrities, sports stars, journalists and politicians, was detailed in a New York Times article published earlier on Saturday. At least 55,000 of its “bot” accounts used names, pictures, hometowns and other details taken from people on Twitter. The real users hailed from every U.S. state, including New York, and dozens of countries. “Impersonation and deception are illegal under New York law,” Mr. Schneiderman wrote. “We’re opening an investigation into Devumi and its apparent sale of bots using stolen identities.” Tens of millions of fake accounts have been deployed to defraud businesses, influence political debates online and attract customers. Social media companies, including Twitter and Facebook, have drawn intense scrutiny for not taking greater steps to weed them out. Mr. Schneiderman ... has brought a series of cases focused on the emerging world of online fraud, impersonation and abuse. In December, he began an investigation into how the Federal Communications Commission was flooded with millions of fake comments on a proposal to scrap so-called net neutrality rules. Many of the comments used names and addresses borrowed from real people, almost always without their knowledge.

Note: The use of social media to manipulate public perception has reportedly influenced recent elections in Latin America, the UK, and the US. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


How ex-congresswoman helped squelch reports of secret government surveillance
2018-01-15, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfchronicle.com/nation/article/Ex-congresswoman-helped-squelch-sto...

Two New York Times reporters learned in 2004 that the George W. Bush administration was secretly wiretapping Americans, and collecting their phone and email records. The reporters’ attempt to publish their findings were thwarted by the administration’s intense and successful lobbying of their editors. That effort ... had an unlikely ally: Rep. Jane Harman of Los Angeles, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Details of the far-reaching, legally unauthorized surveillance program remained secret until the Times published the article in late 2005. The newspaper’s interactions with administration officials, and Harman’s role, were described by former Times reporter James Risen this month in the Intercept, the investigative publication where he now works. The story on the program known as Stellar Wind was ready for publication before the November 2004 election, when Bush was on the ballot, but NSA Director Michael Hayden and other administration officials told Times editors, in phone calls and face-to-face meetings, that publication would damage national security and endanger lives, Risen said. He said the officials were joined in that effort by Harman, one of a handful of congressional leaders who had been briefed on the program and were enlisted by the White House to contact the Times. Members of Congress learned later that the NSA had not been seeking warrants from a secret court, as required by law, before wiretapping calls.

Note: James Risen is a courageous hero who shared two Pulitzer Prizes for his reporting around 9/11 and massive government surveillance. His recent article in The Intercept describes how a "marketplace of secrets in Washington" supports the US national security apparatus, and is used by corrupt government officials to manipulate the news.


Gulf Arabs vs. Qatar: Why all the fuss over Al Jazeera?
2017-07-07, Christian Science Monitor
https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2017/0707/Gulf-Arabs-vs.-Qatar-Wh...

Amid all the talk of Qatar’s alleged support for terrorism, at the core of the Gulf Arab countries’ ongoing blockade of the oil- and gas-rich emirate is one major source of contention: Al Jazeera. A central demand of the Gulf states lead by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ... is for the Gulf country to “close Al Jazeera network and its affiliates.” Other key demands: downgrading ties with Iran and closing a Turkish military base in Doha. Why the intense focus on the pan-Arab TV network? When launched in 1996, the network was seen as a revolutionary force bucking a largely conservative and autocratic status quo. In an era in which state-run media dominated the Arab world, Al Jazeera for the first time broadcast differing views and opinions, and raised political awareness. Today ... states such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE are exerting all their diplomatic and economic might to bring an end to Al Jazeera in a vain bid to close its Pandora’s box of democratic and liberal social values. Al Jazeera has addressed social issues and taboos often discussed in heated debates at home but never broadcast on-air: honor killings, the plight of migrant workers, suicide bombings, sexual harassment. “We opened a huge debate and exposed a lot of contradictions in the well-established orthodoxy of traditional organizations, including political and religious groups,” says Wadah Khanfar, former director general of Al Jazeera from 2003 to 2011.

Note: Al Jazeera is one of the very few media outlets that has raised serious questions about many of the issues raised by WantToKnow.info, so no wonder the powers that be want it shut down. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and mass media.


Fake news: you ain’t seen nothing yet
2017-07-01, The Economist
https://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21724370-generating-con...

Faith in written information is under attack in some quarters. But images and sound recordings retain for many an inherent trustworthiness. [Machine-learning algorithms] are part of a technological wave that threatens this credibility. Audio is easier to fake. Normally, computers generate speech by linking lots of short recorded speech fragments to create a sentence. Generative audio works differently, using neural networks to learn the statistical properties of the audio source in question, then reproducing those properties directly. Putting words into the mouth of Mr Trump, say, or of any other public figure, is a matter of feeding recordings of his speeches into the algorithmic hopper and then telling the trained software what you want that person to say. Generating images is harder. [Generative adversarial networks] were introduced in 2014 by Ian Goodfellow. Mr Goodfellow ... suggests that the generation of YouTube fakes that are very plausible may be possible within three years. Others think it might take longer. But all agree that it is a question of when, not if. “We think that AI is going to change the kinds of evidence that we can trust,” says Mr Goodfellow.

Note: While government programs have long been developing technologies to produce very convincing illusions, and it has become trivial to edit video footage of a person talking to change their words and facial expressions, this emerging technology makes it possible to manipulate mass media in previously impossible ways.


Upworthy’s Quest to Engineer Optimism for an Anxious Age
2017-05-01, Wired
https://www.wired.com/2017/05/upworthys-quest-engineer-optimism-anxious-age/

The world finds itself in an age saturated with anxiety - at least, that’s the sense created by the daily deluge of news portraying a grim present of economic hardship, global tensions, terrorism, and political upheaval. The five-year-old site Upworthy doesn’t want you to see the world that way. In March of 2012, Eli Pariser - one of the leaders of the activist group MoveOn - and Peter Koechley - also of MoveOn and an editor at The Onion - launched Upworthy with several million dollars of seed money and a surfeit of hope. It was and is a bold attempt at reframing what constitutes news. Fear and anger are the currency of the media realm. Upworthy seeks to upend that formula and focus instead not on what is going wrong but on what might go right. Upworthy ... insists that stories “can make the world a better place” and engage people in a way that makes them want to do something instead of tuning out. On the numbers, Upworthy has 11 million subscribers, 20 million unique visitors to its website, and more important, substantial community engagement through its main distribution platform, Facebook. For those of you who think Upworthy has faded, Facebook’s own research ... demonstrates that the site and its stories have some of the highest community engagement of any Facebook page, behind Fox News but ahead of CNN. The site’s audience is surprisingly diverse in terms of politics and geography. Its experiment seems to be more one of tone: positive encouragement rather than inflammatory antagonism.

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Reporters' Spy Saga Gives Glimpse of UK Surveillance Culture
2017-02-01, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/reporters-spy-saga-glimpse-uk-surv...

British journalist Julia Breen's scoop about racism at her local police force didn't just get her on the front page, it got her put under surveillance. Investigators logged her calls, those of her colleague Graeme Hetherington and even their modest-sized newspaper's busy switchboard in an effort to unmask their sources. The [Northern Echo newspaper] has often provided painful reading for Cleveland Police, a department responsible for a Chicago-sized patch of England's industrial northeast. The small force has weathered a series of scandals. A minority officer, Sultan Alam, was awarded 800,000 pounds ... after allegedly being framed by colleagues in retaliation for a discrimination lawsuit. The judgment made national headlines. Cleveland Police issued a statement insisting the force wasn't racist. The next day, an anonymous caller told Breen an internal police report suggested otherwise. The following morning her byline was across the front page beneath the words: "Institutional racism uncovered within Cleveland Police." Breen ... eventually forgot the episode. Cleveland Police didn't. The force secretly began logging calls to and from Breen, Hetherington and a third journalist from another newspaper. It was later calculated that the surveillance covered over 1 million minutes of calling time. The Echo isn't unique. Britain's wiretapping watchdog ... revealed in 2015 that 82 journalists' communications records had been seized as part of leak investigations across the country over a three-year period.

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