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Mass Media News Stories
Excerpts of Key Mass Media News Stories in Major Media


Below are highly revealing excerpts of important mass media news stories reported in the media that suggest a major cover-up. Links are provided to the full stories on their major media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These mass media news stories are listed by date posted to this webpage. You can explore the same articles listed by order of importance or by article date. By choosing to educate ourselves on these important issues and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

Note: This comprehensive list of mass media news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.


The Follower Factory
2018-01-27, New York Times
Posted: 2018-02-05 13:53:25
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
Posted: 2018-02-05 13:52:00
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.


As many as 48 million Twitter accounts aren't people, says study
2017-03-10, CNBC News
Posted: 2018-02-05 13:49:11
https://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/10/nearly-48-million-twitter-accounts-could-be-b...

According to new research from the University of Southern California and Indiana University, up to 15 percent of Twitter accounts are in fact bots rather than people. Researchers at USC used more than one thousand features to identify bot accounts on Twitter, in categories including friends, tweet content and sentiment, and time between tweets. Using that framework, researchers wrote that "our estimates suggest that between 9% and 15% of active Twitter accounts are bots." Since Twitter currently has 319 million monthly active users, that translates to nearly 48 million bot accounts, using USC's high-end estimate. The report goes on to say that complex bots could have shown up as humans in their model, "making even the 15% figure a conservative estimate." At 15 percent, the evaluation is far greater than Twitter's own estimates. In a filing with the SEC last month, Twitter said that up to 8.5 percent of all active accounts contacted Twitter's servers "…without any discernable additional user-initiated action." USC's researchers ... highlight the benefits of some bots, writing, "many social bots perform useful functions, such as dissemination of news and publications…" But the USC report also points to the downside of bots, saying, "there is a growing record of malicious applications of social bots. Some emulate human behavior to manufacture fake grassroots political support [and] promote terrorist propaganda and recruitment."

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.


Fake news: you ain’t seen nothing yet
2017-07-01, The Economist
Posted: 2018-02-05 13:44:14
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.


US government spent over $500m on fake Al-Qaeda propaganda videos that tracked location of viewers
2016-10-06, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2018-01-29 17:38:42
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/us-government-pentagon-fake-al-qaeda-...

A former contractor for a UK-based public relations firm says that the Pentagon paid more than half a billion dollars for the production and dissemination of fake Al-Qaeda videos that portrayed the insurgent group in a negative light. The PR firm, Bell Pottinger, worked alongside top US military officials at Camp Victory in Baghdad at the height of the Iraq War. The agency was tasked with crafting TV segments in the style of unbiased Arabic news reports, videos of Al-Qaeda bombings that appeared to be filmed by insurgents, and anti-insurgent commercials. Those who watched the videos could be tracked by US forces. Bell Pottinger ... could have earned as much as $120m from the US in 2006. Former video editor Martin Wells, who worked on the IOTF contract with Bell Pottinger, said they were given very specific instructions on how to produce the fake Al-Qaeda propaganda films. US Marines would then take CDs containing the videos while on patrol, then plant them at sites during raids. “If they’re raiding a house and they’re going to make a mess of it looking for stuff anyway, they’d just drop an odd CD there,” he said. The CDs were encoded to open the videos on RealPlayer software that connects to the Internet when it runs. It would issue an IP address that could then be tracked by US intelligence. The programmes produced by Bell Pottinger would move up the chain of command ... and could sometimes go as high up as the White House for approval.

Note: Read more about the fake "Al Qaeda" videos produced and distributed for the Pentagon. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption and the manipulation of public perception.


How ex-congresswoman helped squelch reports of secret government surveillance
2018-01-15, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2018-01-22 15:18:26
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.


My Life as a New York Times Reporter in the Shadow of the War on Terror
2018-01-03, The Intercept
Posted: 2018-01-07 23:27:43
https://theintercept.com/2018/01/03/my-life-as-a-new-york-times-reporter-in-t...

The Obama administration was demanding that I reveal the confidential sources I had relied on for a chapter about a botched CIA operation in my 2006 book, “State of War.” I had also written about the CIA operation for the New York Times, but the paper’s editors had suppressed the story at the government’s request. It wasn’t the only time they had done so. My case was part of a broader crackdown on reporters and whistleblowers that had begun during the presidency of George W. Bush and continued far more aggressively under the Obama administration, which had already prosecuted more leak cases than all previous administrations combined. I started covering the CIA in 1995. Success as a reporter on the CIA beat inevitably meant finding out government secrets, and that meant plunging headlong into the classified side of Washington, which had its own strange dynamics. I discovered that there was, in effect, a marketplace of secrets in Washington, in which White House officials and other current and former bureaucrats, contractors, members of Congress, their staffers, and journalists all traded information. This informal black market helped keep the national security apparatus running smoothly, limiting nasty surprises for all involved. The revelation that this secretive subculture existed, and that it allowed a reporter to glimpse the government’s dark side, was jarring. It felt a bit like being in the Matrix.

Note: Article author James Risen is a courageous hero who shared two Pulitzer Prizes for his reporting around 9/11 and massive government surveillance. If you read the entire article at the link above, you will learn in detail how the New York Times and other media bow to government pressure and filter what information reaches the public. They also have a strong, but secretive agenda to support war and the military-industrial complex. You will also see how government keeps the media from reporting some of the most important stories.


Think You’re Seeing More Drug Ads on TV? You Are, and Here’s Why
2017-12-24, New York Times
Posted: 2018-01-07 23:25:41
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/24/business/media/prescription-drugs-advertis...

Television advertisements for prescription drugs ... have been running for 20 years. [Yet] it is not your imagination if you think you are seeing more of them these days. Lots more. 771,368 such ads were shown in 2016 ... an increase of almost 65 percent over 2012. “TV ad spending by pharmaceutical companies has more than doubled in the past four years, making it the second-fastest-growing category on television during that time,” Jon Swallen, Kantar’s chief research officer, said. The ads ... have turned to more serious ailments in the last few years. And when the ads come on, [the] audience is also listening intently to all that can befall them if they take a certain drug. An unexpected side effect of ad agency compliance with the drug administration’s regulation, it turns out, is enhanced credibility. “It’s counterintuitive, but everything in our research suggests that hearing about the risks increases consumers’ belief in the advertising,” said Jeff Rothstein, the chief executive officer of Cult Health, an ad agency that specializes in health care.

Note: 25 years ago drug advertising was illegal, as it was believed drugs should sell themselves on their own merits. Now Big Pharma is raking in profits hand over fist by inundating us with fear-based advertising. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.


Seth Rich, Conspiracy Theorists, and Russiagate ‘Truthers’
2017-08-25, The Nation
Posted: 2017-12-17 22:59:30
https://www.thenation.com/article/seth-rich-conspiracy-theorists-and-russiaga...

Seth Rich [was] a mid-level staffer at the DNC who was murdered on July 10, 2016. Conspiracy theorists ... pounced on the story. Rich, they declared, was killed ... because he had stolen vast swaths of data from the DNC and handed it to WikiLeaks. "Whistle-blowers go to significant efforts to get us material. A 27-year-old that works for the DNC was shot in the back, murdered ... in Washington," [WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange said in an interview]. Days later, WikiLeaks offered a $20,000 reward for information about the murder of Rich. On May 16, Malia Zimmerman, a Fox reporter ... published a story on DC’s Fox 5 News outlining a conspiratorial view of the Rich murder. That night, Sean Hannity broadcast a lengthy segment based on Zimmerman’s story. The star witness was Rod Wheeler. But in [a new lawsuit, filed on August 1], Wheeler says that he was a victim of manipulation by others involved in the story. On May 23, Fox would retract the entire story and purge it from its archives. Wheeler ... was recruited [by Fox contributor Ed Butowsky] to serve as a paid investigator by the Rich family. Enter Sy Hersh. According to Wheeler’s lawsuit, “even before Butowsky had ever contacted Mr. Wheeler, Butowsky had already had a conversation on this topic with Seymour (Sy) Hersh.” Hersh claimed - and there’s a recording to support this - that he, Hersh, had had access to a secret FBI report about the Rich case. Hersh also said that Rich had created a Dropbox for DNC e-mails, that WikiLeaks had access to it, that Rich had warned friends in case “something happens to me,” and more.

Note: An intriguing six-minute video by whistleblower website Newsbud presents powerful evidence the Wikileaks DNC leak was not the result of Russian hackers. As reported in the above article, venerable journalist Seymour Hersh stated that murdered Clinton aid Seth Rich was behind the leak and that the whole thing was a CIA operation. Hints of more cover-up and manipulation around this can be found in this Washington Post article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and media manipulation.


Washington Post uncovers fake Roy Moore story 'sting'
2017-11-28, BBC News
Posted: 2017-12-04 03:19:55
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42150322

The Washington Post says it has uncovered a failed "sting operation" by a group trying to peddle a sensational but false story to its journalists. A source told the newspaper she had been impregnated as a teenager by US politician Roy Moore. The Post said its research debunked her story, and that she worked for a group called Project Veritas, which it said "targets the mainstream news media". The group said the Washington Post was reporting "an imagined sting". The Washington Post said it was originally approached by a woman the day after it published allegations that US Senate candidate Roy Moore had once initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl. The woman, who used a fake name, claimed to have had a sexual relationship with Mr Moore when she was 15. "She said that she got pregnant, that Moore talked her into an abortion and that he drove her to Mississippi to get it," the newspaper said of the conversations. Project Veritas has posted a series of tweets claiming to expose bias at the Washington Post. It claimed the newspaper was attempting to divert attention by inventing the "sting operation" story. But many journalists on social media claimed the attempt to prove the Washington Post had published unverified claims had backfired - and showed the opposite.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing media manipulation news articles from reliable sources.


The C.I.A.’s Fake News Campaign
2017-10-13, New York Times
Posted: 2017-10-31 11:33:57
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/13/opinion/cia-fake-news-russia.html

For more than two decades during the Cold War, the public was bombarded by an enormous publicity campaign to shape American views of Russia. The campaign may have been the largest and most consistent source of political advertising in American history. And it was orchestrated by a big, powerful intelligence service: the Central Intelligence Agency. In 1950, [the CIA] created Radio Free Europe, a government-sponsored broadcasting station. Ostensibly, it provided unbiased news for Eastern Europeans, but in fact the agency used it to wage a subversive campaign to weaken Communist governments. But how to hide the agency’s hand? Simple: pretend that ordinary Americans are paying the bills. A well-heeled and well-connected front group, the National Committee for a Free Europe ... ran an enormous fund-raising campaign ... that implored Americans to donate “freedom dollars” to combat Kremlin lies. The donations barely covered the cost of running the “fund-raising drives,” to say nothing of Radio Free Europe’s $30 million annual budgets. But that wasn’t the point. Declassified documents reveal that almost from the start, the CIA saw that it could exploit the fund-raising campaign as a conduit for domestic propaganda. It was a way to rally public support for the Cold War. Our post-truth media environment [carries] voices from this past. The crusade blasted all information from enemy sources as lies and deceit — fake news, we could say.

Note: The US government was legally prevented from broadcasting propaganda to domestic audiences for many years. This prohibition ended when new rules were adopted in 2013. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the manipulation of public perception.


Malta car bomb kills Panama Papers journalist
2017-10-16, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2017-10-31 11:21:59
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/16/malta-car-bomb-kills-panama-pap...

The journalist who led the Panama Papers investigation into corruption in Malta was killed. Daphne Caruana Galizia died on Monday afternoon when her car ... was destroyed by a powerful explosive device. A blogger whose posts often attracted more readers than the combined circulation of the country’s newspapers, Caruana Galizia was recently described by the Politico website as a “one-woman WikiLeaks”. Her most recent revelations pointed the finger at Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, and two of his closest aides, connecting offshore companies linked to the three men with the sale of Maltese passports and payments from the government of Azerbaijan. Caruana Galizia filed a police report 15 days ago to say that she had been receiving death threats. The journalist posted her final blog on her Running Commentary website at 2.35pm on Monday, and the explosion ... was reported to police just after 3pm. Caruana Galizia ... set her sights on a wide range of targets, from banks facilitating money laundering to links between Malta’s online gaming industry and the Mafia. Over the last two years, her reporting had largely focused on revelations from the Panama Papers, a cache of 11.5m documents leaked from the internal database of the world’s fourth largest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca. Her family have filed a court application demanding a change of inquiring magistrate. Investigations into the case are being led by Consuelo Scerri Herrera. But Herrera had come under criticism by Galizia in her blog.

Note: The release of the Panama Papers exposed tax-dodging elites in many countries. There is speculative evidence that the CIA had a hand in releasing these documents. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing financial industry corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Hollywood Sex Abuse Film 'An Open Secret' Released Online
2017-10-13, Hollywood Reporter
Posted: 2017-10-31 11:11:24
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/hollywood-sex-abuse-film-an-open-secret...

An Open Secret, a documentary about the sexual abuse of teenage boys at the hands of Hollywood big-wigs, generated plenty of publicity a few years ago. Now, with new sexual allegations against Harvey Weinstein and others in the movie and TV industry coming practically daily, the producer of An Open Secret has posted his film online for the first time. "It's so funny to keep seeing headlines about how Harvey's abuse was 'an open secret' in Hollywood, and that's the name of our film," said producer Gabe Hoffman. The movie got a limited theatrical release a few years ago, and Hoffman is still seeking more distribution. Much of the movie focuses on the now-defunct Digital Entertainment Network. DEN [is] remembered today for hosting wild parties with drugs, alcohol and underage boys at the former residence of founder, Marc Collins-Rector, now a registered sex offender. Another case explored in An Open Secret involves talent manager Marty Weiss, who pleaded no contest to lewd acts on a child and is heard in the film admitting molestation. Also explored is talent manager Bob Villard, who used to represent Leonardo DiCaprio and also pleaded no contest to lewd acts with a child. "We haven't got any offers from major distributors yet because Hollywood doesn't want to expose its dirty laundry," [said Hoffman]. "Harvey Weinstein, by the way, is not the only one who has used confidentiality settlements. That's why more of Hollywood's behavior hasn't been exposed. This is the tip of the iceberg," he said.

Note: Read a summarized review of this film, or a much more detailed report on the issues it exposes. Then learn how the film's director strangely distanced herself from the film, likely because she was threatened. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.


How NBC gave up Ronan Farrow's explosive Harvey Weinstein scoop
2017-10-11, CNN
Posted: 2017-10-16 04:08:33
http://money.cnn.com/2017/10/11/media/nbc-new-yorker-harvey-weinstein/index.html

Reporter and NBC contributor Ronan Farrow pursued leads about Harvey Weinstein's misconduct for months, but NBC passed on the chance to publish his story. "Ronan was basically told to stop working on this," according to a source. So Farrow contacted David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker. Now the magazine is receiving widespread acclaim for publishing the investigation. What happened at NBC is a media world mystery. Did the network's executives not have the stomach for the inevitable legal threats? Were they trying to protect relationships in Hollywood? Or were there other reasons? The official explanation, from the news division's president Noah Oppenheim, is that "we didn't feel that we had all the elements that we needed to air it," so Farrow "took it to The New Yorker." But some staffers aren't buying that. And they're wondering why Farrow's taped interviews with accusers aren't being broadcast now. The question of how NBC could have let this scoop get away is big enough that it even came up on sister network MSNBC Tuesday night. Host Rachel Maddow asked Farrow, "Why did you end up reporting this story for The New Yorker and not for NBC News?" "Look," Farrow responded, "you would have to ask NBC and NBC executives about the details of that story." Earlier in the interview, he had mentioned that he taped one of his on-camera interviews way back in January.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on mass media corruption and sexual abuse scandals.


FEMA removes — then restores — statistics about drinking water access and electricity in Puerto Rico from website
2017-10-06, Washington Post
Posted: 2017-10-09 01:45:49
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/10/05/fema-removes-...

As of Wednesday, half of Puerto Ricans had access to drinking water and 5 percent of the island had electricity, according to statistics published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency on its Web page. By Thursday morning, both of those key metrics were no longer on the Web page. The statistics that are on the FEMA page, as of Thursday afternoon, include these: There are now 14,000 federal workers on the ground in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, up from 12,300 earlier in the week. All airports, federally maintained ports and post offices are open. More than 30 miles of roadway have been cleared, up from about 20 miles earlier in the week. About 65 percent of grocery stores have reopened, along with nearly all hospitals and dialysis centers. And 64 percent of wastewater treatment plants are working on generator power. Those statistics illustrate President Trump's assertions that the island is quickly making tremendous strides toward full recovery and that the media have exaggerated the conditions on the ground.

Note: As of Friday afternoon, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is once again reporting the percentage of Puerto Ricans who have access to drinking water and the percentage of the island that has power.


As Google Fights Fake News, Voices on the Margins Raise Alarm
2017-09-26, New York Times
Posted: 2017-10-01 23:29:29
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/26/technology/google-search-bias-claims.html

When David North, the editorial chairman of the World Socialist Web Site, noticed a drop in the site’s traffic in April, he initially chalked it up to news fatigue. But when he dug into the numbers, Mr. North said, he found a clearer explanation: Google had stopped redirecting search queries to the site. He discovered that the top search terms that once brought people to the World Socialist Web Site were now coming up empty. Accusations that Google has tampered with search results are not uncommon. But they are taking on new life amid concerns that technology behemoths are directly - or indirectly - censoring controversial subjects in their response to concerns over so-called fake news. In April, Google announced an initiative called Project Owl to provide “algorithmic updates to surface more authoritative content” and stamp out fake news stories from its search results. To some, that was an uncomfortable step toward Google becoming an arbiter of what is and is not a trustworthy news source. “They’re really skating on thin ice,” said Michael Bertini, a search strategist at iQuanti, a digital marketing agency. “They’re controlling what users see." In an open letter to Google last month, Mr. North traced his site’s traffic decline to Project Owl. Mr. North said he believed that Google was blacklisting the site, using concerns over fake news as a cover to suppress opinions from socialist, antiwar or left-wing websites and block news that Google doesn’t want covered.

Note: Visits to WantToKnow.info have dropped to less than half of what they were just eight months ago, largely due to a drop in visits from Google's search engine. Many alternative news websites have lost a lot of visits as Google prioritizes "mainstream" sources over alternative viewpoints. Check out the intriguing, well researched article "How the CIA Made Google." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


How a Crackdown on Leaks Threatens Confidential Sources
2017-09-04, New York Times
Posted: 2017-09-24 20:30:01
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/04/insider/how-a-crackdown-on-leaks-threatens...

It was just four years ago that roughly two dozen representatives of major news organizations crowded around a conference table at the Justice Department for a meeting with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. Our agenda? Strengthening the Justice Department’s guidelines that limit when federal prosecutors can serve subpoenas on the news media. It had just been revealed that federal investigators had secretly seized the phone records of The Associated Press and the emails of a Fox News correspondent during leak investigations. The result was important: The Justice Department revised its internal guidelines to make it harder for prosecutors to obtain subpoenas for reporters’ testimony and records. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, after being chided by President Trump for being weak, recently declared a war on leakers and made clear that the news media was also on his mind. It seems all but certain that the Justice Department will try to chip away at the subpoena guidelines, [which] say that prosecutors are to seek testimony and evidence from journalists only as a last resort, and that news organizations should have a chance to go to court to challenge any subpoenas. The guidelines are far from ironclad. If a prosecutor were to ignore them, a journalist would have no right to go into court and demand they be followed. When federal courts dial back protection for reporters, the guidelines become an essential first line of defense against overzealous prosecutors.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


What is "brain hacking"? Tech insiders on why you should care
2017-04-09, CBS News
Posted: 2017-09-19 00:08:07
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/brain-hacking-tech-insiders-60-minutes/

The companies responsible for programming your phones are working hard to get you and your family to feel the need to check in constantly. Some programmers call it “brain hacking” and the tech world would probably prefer you didn’t hear about it. Ramsay Brown studied neuroscience before co-founding Dopamine Labs. The company is named after the dopamine molecule in our brains that aids in the creation of desire and pleasure. Brown and his colleagues write computer code for apps ... designed to provoke a neurological response. The computer code he creates finds the best moment to give you ... rewards, which have no actual value, but Brown says trigger your brain to make you want more. When Brown says “experiments,” he’s talking generally about the millions of computer calculations being used every moment by his company and others use to constantly tweak your online experience. "You’re part of a controlled set of experiments that are happening in real time across you and millions of other people," [said Brown]. "You’re guinea pigs ... pushing the button and sometimes getting the likes. And they’re doing this to keep you in there. You don’t pay for Facebook. Advertisers pay for Facebook. You get to use it for free because your eyeballs are what’s being sold there." While Brown is tapping into the power of dopamine, psychologist Larry Rosen and his team at California State University ... are researching the effect technology has on our anxiety levels. Their research suggests our phones are keeping us in a continual state of anxiety in which the only antidote – is the phone.

Note: This new form of "brain hacking" adds to a vast arsenal of behavior modification technologies developed by government and industry. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on mind control and the disappearance of privacy.


Don't believe the dangerous myths of 'Drone Warrior'
2017-07-16, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2017-09-11 23:30:23
http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-browne-ling-drones-memoir-brett-ve...

Drone pilots have been quitting the U.S. Air Force in record numbers. They cite a combination of low-class status in the military, overwork and psychological trauma. But a widely publicized new memoir about America’s covert drone war fails to mention the “outflow increases,” as one internal Air Force memo calls it. “Drone Warrior: An Elite Soldier’s Inside Account of the Hunt for America’s Most Dangerous Enemies” chronicles the nearly 10 years that Brett Velicovich, a former special operations member, spent using drones to help special forces find and track terrorists. Conveniently, it also puts a hard sell on a program whose ranks the military is struggling to keep full. The book is, at best, a tale of hyper-masculine bravado and, at worst, a piece of military propaganda designed to ease doubts about the drone program and increase recruitment. Velicovich exaggerates the accuracy of the technology, neglecting to mention how often it fails or that such failures have killed an untold number of civilians. For instance, the CIA killed 76 children and 29 adults in its attempts to take out Ayman al Zawahiri, the leader of Al Qaeda, who reportedly is still alive. The film rights to “Drone Warrior” were bought over a year ago, with much fanfare, by Paramount Pictures. This development is predictable. The U.S. military and Hollywood have long enjoyed a symbiotic relationship. But there is something particularly unseemly about Hollywood’s enthusiasm for bringing Velicovich’s version of drone warfare to the big screen.

Note: Documents obtained by a crowdfunded investigative journalism project show that US military and intelligence agencies have influenced over 1,800 movies and television shows. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption and the manipulation of mass media.


The Fake-News Fallacy
2017-09-04, The New Yorker
Posted: 2017-09-05 00:17:22
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/09/04/the-fake-news-fallacy

On the evening of October 30, 1938, a seventy-six-year-old millworker in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey, named Bill Dock heard something terrifying. Aliens had landed just down the road, a newscaster announced. Dock ... prepared to face down the invaders. But ... he’d been duped by Orson Welles’s radio adaptation of “The War of the Worlds.” The next day, newspapers were full of stories like Dock’s. This early fake-news panic lives on in legend, but [historian A. Brad] Schwartz is the latest of a number of researchers to argue that it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. There was no mass hysteria, only small pockets of concern that quickly burned out. Newspapers exaggerated the panic to better control the upstart medium of radio, which was becoming the dominant source of breaking news in the thirties. Newspapers wanted to show that radio was irresponsible and needed guidance from its older, more respectable siblings in the print media, such “guidance” mostly taking the form of lucrative licensing deals and increased ownership of local radio stations. To some, the lesson of the panic was that the F.C.C. needed to take an even more active role to protect people from malicious tricksters like Welles. Yet Schwartz says that the people calling for a government crackdown were far outnumbered by those who warned against one. Today, Facebook and Google have taken the place of the F.C.C. in the conservative imagination. With a powerful, well-funded propaganda machine ... conservatives aren’t the ones who have the most to fear.

Note: Historian A. Brad Schwartz is the author of a bestselling book titled, "Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the manipulation of mass media.


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