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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 Miami Herald, the CIA, and the Bay of Pigs scoop that didn’t run
2015-04-17, Miami Herald
Posted: 2018-05-15 06:43:29
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article18792675.html

President John F. Kennedy sent an army of anti-Castro exiles backed by the CIA onto the beach at Cuba’s Bay of Pigs to suffer bloody, catastrophic defeat. A few days later, [Kennedy] wondered aloud why nobody had talked him out of it. Could the Miami Herald have done that - talked him out of it? The Herald, seven months before the Bay of Pigs, had prepared a news story saying that the United States was planning to launch a military operation against Cuba. But the paper’s top management killed the story after CIA Director Allen Dulles said publishing it would hurt national security. In 1960, [reporter David Kraslow's] contacts at the Justice Department ... told him of a brutal feud between legendary FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and the CIA. The CIA wanted to train an army of Cuban exiles to overthrow Castro; the FBI was charged with enforcing the federal Neutrality Act that makes it illegal to stage a military expedition against another country from U.S. territory. Kraslow had a blockbuster story. “It was about 1,500 words and it said the CIA was secretly recruiting and training Cuban exiles for some sort of major military operation against Castro,” he recalls. The Herald wouldn’t run it. Training of the Cuban exiles was moved out the United States to Guatemala. On Jan. 10, 1961, [The New York Times] published a story on the ... base in Guatemala. The day after that, the Herald published its own story. A little editor’s note explained that the Herald had held up the news “for more than two months”.

Note: Although JFK did not stop the Bay of Pigs debacle, his administration did successfully stop a Pentagon plan to fabricate acts of terrorism on US soil as a pretext for war with Cuba. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the manipulation of mass media.


U.S. Paid 10 Journalists for Anti-Castro Reports
2006-09-09, New York Times
Posted: 2018-05-15 06:40:54
https://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/09/washington/09cuba.html

The Bush administration’s Office of Cuba Broadcasting paid 10 journalists here to provide commentary on Radio and TV Martí, which transmit to Cuba government broadcasts critical of Fidel Castro, a spokesman for the office said Friday. The group included three journalists at El Nuevo Herald, the Spanish-language sister newspaper of The Miami Herald, which fired them Thursday after learning of the relationship. Pablo Alfonso, who reports on Cuba for El Nuevo Herald, received the largest payment, almost $175,000 since 2001. Other journalists have been found to accept money from the Bush administration, including Armstrong Williams, a commentator and talk-show host who received $240,000 to promote its education initiatives. But while the Castro regime has long alleged that some Cuban-American reporters in Miami were paid by the government, the revelation on Friday ... was the first evidence of that. After Mr. Williams admitted in 2005 to accepting money from the Federal Education Department through a public relations company, federal auditors said the Bush administration had violated the law by disseminating “covert propaganda.” A few months later, The Los Angeles Times reported that the Pentagon had paid millions of dollars to another public relations firm to plant propaganda in the Iraqi news media and pay friendly Iraqi journalists monthly stipends.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the manipulation of mass media.


Department of Justice Removes 'Press Freedom' Language in Manual for Federal Prosecutors
2018-04-30, Newsweek
Posted: 2018-05-08 00:39:47
http://www.newsweek.com/department-justice-takes-out-press-freedom-905976

The Department of Justice has scrubbed and revised language concerning press freedom and civil rights from its manual for federal prosecutors. In a broad revamping - the first in over 20 years - a subsection titled “Need for Free Press and Public Trial” was taken out. "The purpose of that review is to identify redundant sections and language, areas that required greater clarity, and any content that needed to be added to help department attorneys perform core prosecutorial functions," Ian D. Prior, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice, [said]. "Taken in isolation, I’m not sure how much we should read into the language changed in the DOJ manual," Alexandra Ellerbeck, the North America program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, told Newsweek. Ellerbeck pointed out, however, that removing the “need for the free press” section is concerning, considering the level of hostility toward journalists. Since President Donald Trump has taken office, he has popularized the term "fake news". The administration has also made repeated threats to go after leakers, Ellerbeck said. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in November there are 27 open leak investigations. In comparison, Sessions noted that during former President Barack Obama's administration, the DOJ investigated "three per year." Reporters Without Borders released its annual World Press Freedom Index last week and cited an increasing sense of “hostility” toward the media. The U.S. fell back two places in rankings.

Note: The NSA recently deleted the terms "honesty" and "openness" from its mission statement. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the manipulation of mass media.


The search for truth in the rubble of Douma – and one doctor’s doubts over the chemical attack
2018-04-17, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2018-04-23 03:09:03
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-chemical-attack-gas-douma-robert-f...

This is the story of a town called Douma ... and of an underground clinic whose images of suffering allowed three of the Western world’s most powerful nations to bomb Syria last week. When I track [a doctor] down in the very same clinic, [he] tells me that the “gas” videotape which horrified the world – despite all the doubters – is perfectly genuine. The same 58-year old senior Syrian doctor then adds something profoundly uncomfortable: the patients, he says, were overcome not by gas but by oxygen starvation in the rubbish-filled tunnels and basements in which they lived. Dr Rahaibani ... showed me his lowly hospital and the few beds where a small girl was crying as nurses treated a cut above her eye. “All the doctors know what happened. There was a lot of shelling [by government forces] and aircraft were always over Douma at night – but on this night, there was wind and huge dust clouds began to come into the basements and cellars where people lived. People began to arrive here suffering from hypoxia, oxygen loss. Then someone at the door, a “White Helmet”, shouted “Gas!”, and a panic began. People started throwing water over each other. Yes, the video was filmed here, it is genuine, but what you see are people suffering from hypoxia – not gas poisoning.” Oddly, after chatting to more than 20 people, I couldn’t find one who showed the slightest interest in Douma’s role in bringing about the Western air attacks. Two actually told me they didn’t know about the connection.

Note: Learn an alternative view of who the "white helmets" are in this Corbett Report. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.


National Enquirer paid doorman $30,000 to squash Trump baby rumor
2018-04-12, ABC/Associated Press
Posted: 2018-04-23 02:48:29
http://abc7news.com/politics/tabloid-paid-doorman-$30000-to-squash-trump-baby...

Eight months before the company that owns the National Enquirer paid $150,000 to a former Playboy Playmate who claimed she'd had an affair with Donald Trump, the tabloid's parent made a $30,000 payment to a less famous individual: a former doorman at one of the real estate mogul's New York City buildings. As it did with the ex-Playmate, the Enquirer signed the ex-doorman to a contract that ... prevented him from going public. The Associated Press confirmed the details [through] interviews with dozens of current and former employees of the Enquirer and its parent company, American Media Inc. Sajudin got $30,000 in exchange for signing over the rights, "in perpetuity," to a rumor ... that the president had fathered a child with an employee at Trump World Tower. The contract subjected Sajudin to a $1 million penalty if he disclosed either the rumor or the terms of the deal to anyone. The parallel between the ex-Playmate's and the ex-doorman's dealings with the Enquirer raises new questions about the roles that the Enquirer and [Trump's personal lawyer, Michael] Cohen may have played in ... a hard-fought presidential election. Enquirer staffers ... said the abrupt end to reporting combined with a binding, seven-figure penalty to stop the tipster from talking to anyone led them to conclude that this was a so-called "catch and kill" - a tabloid practice in which a publication pays for a story to never run, either as a favor to the celebrity subject of the tip or as leverage over that person.

Note: The National Enquirer for decades has been notorious for reporting crazy, unbelievable news. Why would they then quash this juicy tidbit which was real? In his interpreting career with the US State Department, WantToKnow.info founder Fred Burks learned that the Enquirer was actually a CIA managed media front. If any big news on UFOs, mind control, or other sensitive topics that the CIA didn't want published was about to come out, the Enquirer would quickly publish the news so that it could be easily debunked if any media later dared report on the story.


Department Of Homeland Security Compiling Database Of Journalists And 'Media Influencers'
2018-04-06, Forbes
Posted: 2018-04-16 20:04:01
https://www.forbes.com/sites/michellefabio/2018/04/06/department-of-homeland-...

Bloomberg Government reports on a FedBizOpps.gov posting by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with the relatively benign-sounding subject “Media Monitoring Services.” The details of the attached Statement of Work, however, outline a plan to gather and monitor the public activities of media professionals and influencers and are enough to cause nightmares of constitutional proportions, particularly as the freedom of the press is under attack worldwide. As part of its "media monitoring," the DHS seeks to track more than 290,000 global news sources as well as social media. The successful contracting company will have "24/7 access to a password protected, media influencer database" ... in order to "identify any and all media coverage related to the Department of Homeland Security or a particular event." The database will be browsable by "location, beat and type of influencer," and for each influencer, the chosen contractor should "present contact details and ... an overview of the previous coverage published by the media influencer." Increasing government encroachment on the freedom of the press is the sinister backdrop to all of this. Freedom House ... recently concluded that global media freedom has reached its lowest level in the past 13 years. The independent watchdog organization blames "new threats to journalists and media outlets in major democracies" as well as "further crackdowns on independent media in authoritarian countries like Russia and China."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the manipulation of public perception.


Before the Media Lionized Martin Luther King Jr., They Denounced Him
2018-04-04, Rolling Stone
Posted: 2018-04-16 19:58:40
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/taibbi-how-mlk-media-narrative...

Fifty years ago ... Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down in Memphis. The Washington Post is running a series of commentaries. The New York Times ran an emotional editorial. Neither paper will mention that they each denounced Dr. King in his later years. Nor will any outlet today likely mention that King had fallen sharply out of favor with much of the national media ... on April 4, 1967. The offense was a speech in New York. King spoke of the “hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence” abroad, and added that a country as financially and politically committed to war as ours could never fight a “War on Poverty” in earnest. One hundred and sixty-eight newspapers denounced him in the days that followed. These editorials had a peculiarly vicious flavor. In late 1967, King pooh-poohed the “violence” and “extremism” criticisms of the civil rights movement, explicitly saying the excesses of urban rioters were “infinitely less dangerous and immoral” than the cold, corporatized murder of the “American mainstream.” “If destruction of property is deplorable,” he asked, “what is the use of napalm on people?” Yet the “mainstream” King is the one most Americans have been conditioned to believe in. King ... died wanting us to radically change our way of life. But history has sanitized him, turning him into a mainstream leader who accomplished what he could within an acceptable role. That sanitizing continues on each of these anniversaries, and is a sad commentary on our inability to listen to even the best of us.

Note: A recent Corbett Report on the assassination of MKL has some powerful evidence of conspiracy at the highest levels. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


When the media tries too hard to 'appeal to both sides', integrity is lost
2018-03-24, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2018-04-02 02:28:34
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/24/when-the-media-tries-too-hard-t...

Trump-era media really is something else. Otherwise smart and interesting publications are working so hard to “appeal to both sides” that they’ve completely abandoned their integrity in the process. Take the Atlantic, who announced a new roster of high-profile columnists this week, including Kevin D Williamson – a writer who compared a nine-year-old black child to a primate, and who argued that women that have abortions – along with their doctors and nurses – should be executed by hanging. When I asked the Atlantic for comment, a spokesperson responded that the magazine has “a large number of contributors who represent a broad spectrum of views”. She wrote that while “diverse viewpoints” are core to the magazine’s mission, they have “strict standards for how these viewpoints are expressed in our pages”. In other words, the Atlantic doesn’t mind employing a marquee columnist who thinks women should be hanged for having abortions so long as he doesn’t say as much in the magazine. But believing America should execute women in genocidal numbers (one in four women in this country will have an abortion) is not a “diverse viewpoint” – and the fact that one of the nation’s leading political magazines could defend it as such indicates a serious moral crisis in mainstream media.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the manipulation of public perception.


Al Jazeera did a hard-hitting investigation into US and Israeli lobbying – so why won't they air it?
2018-03-15, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2018-04-02 02:26:08
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/al-jazeera-investigation-us-israel-lobby...

I’m talking about a documentary called The Lobby, directed by one of Al Jazeera’s top journalists, Clayton Swisher. After months of postponement, The Lobby ... is still no nearer to being shown – and Swisher himself has taken a paid leave of absence. In his published explanation, Swisher described how his award-winning investigative unit ... sent an undercover reporter to look into “how Israel wields influence in America through the pro-Israeli American community. But when some right-wing American supporters of Israel found out about the documentary, there was a massive backlash. It was ... labelled as antisemitic.” Although Swisher’s reporters had exposed genocide in Myanmar, presidential corruption in the Maldives and paedophilia in British youth football, another documentary under Swisher’s direction concentrated on Israel’s influence over Britain and included a secretly filmed sequence in which Israeli official Shai Masot discussed how to “take down” British MPs regarded as pro-Palestinian. In response to antisemitism claims after the London documentary, the broadcasting regulator Ofcom ruled that the programme was “a serious investigative documentary”. It was the same question, Swisher says, that he and his team sought to answer in the American edition of The Lobby: “whether the Israeli government was funding or involved in lobbying efforts in the US under the guise of a domestic lobbying group”.

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


Facebook Closes Page of Hamas-affiliated Palestinian News Agency With 1.3 Million Followers
2018-03-25, Haaretz (One of Israel's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2018-04-02 02:22:02
https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-facebook-closes-page-of-hamas-af...

Facebook closed down the official handle of Palestinian news agency Safa over the weekend. The move came as part of a new company policy to block Facebook pages that promote and publish contents that are defined as inciteful. A Palestinian activist who has been following the affair closely said that the move to close Palestinian Facebook pages started several weeks ago after Hamas operative Ahmed Jarrar was killed near Jenin. Jarrar, who was one of the main strategists behind the drive-by West Bank shooting attack that claimed the life of an Israeli father-of-three, was hailed as a Palestinian hero on social media, and images of him that circulated online had become emblematic of the Palestinian resistance movement against Israel. According to the activist, since the beginning of 2018 alone some 500 Facebook pages of Palestinian activists, journalists and bloggers were closed by the company. The activist also said that pages of news companies had also been blocked, including one of a news company affiliated with Islamic Jihad and another linked to the Palestinian National Front, with Safa being the latest. Other activists have noted that Facebook pages affiliated with Fatah, which recently posted images of Yasser Arafat holding a Kalashnikov, were taken offline by the company. Safa has been operating for a decade out of its offices in Gaza, and is associated with Hamas.

Note: How interesting that no Western media reported this major move by facebook. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing media manipulation news articles from reliable sources.


Cambridge Analytica, Trump-Tied Political Firm, Offered to Entrap Politicians
2018-03-19, New York Times
Posted: 2018-03-25 23:25:50
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/us/cambridge-analytica-alexander-nix.html

Sitting in a hotel bar, Alexander Nix, who runs the political data firm Cambridge Analytica, had a few ideas for a prospective client looking for help in a foreign election. The firm could send an attractive woman to seduce a rival candidate and secretly videotape the encounter, Mr. Nix said, or send someone posing as a wealthy land developer to pass a bribe. “We have a long history of working behind the scenes,” Mr. Nix said. The prospective client, though, was actually a reporter. The encounter was secretly filmed as part of a monthslong investigation into Cambridge Analytica, the data firm with ties to President Trump’s 2016 campaign. The results of Channel 4’s work were broadcast ... days after reports ... that the firm had harvested the data from more than 50 million Facebook profiles in its bid to develop techniques for predicting the behavior of individual American voters. Less noticed has been the work that Cambridge Analytica and its parent company, the SCL Group, have done outside the United States. “Many of our clients don’t want to be seen to be working with a foreign company,” he told the Channel 4 reporter. “We can set up fake IDs and websites.” Mr. Nix ... boasted that Cambridge Analytica employs front companies and former spies on behalf of political clients. The information that is uncovered ... is then put “into the bloodstream to the internet,” said Mark Turnbull, another Cambridge executive. “Then watch it grow,” he added. “It has to happen without anyone thinking, ‘That’s propaganda.’”

Note: Watch an astounding video revealing how Cambridge Analytica has successfully manipulated national elections around the world using sleazy tactics like pretty women to entrap candidates and offering major bribes while recording the exchange. And here is a video featuring the whistleblower who exposed this.


‘I made Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool’: meet the data war whistleblower
2018-03-18, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2018-03-25 23:23:37
https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/17/data-war-whistleblower-christoph...

At 24, [Christopher Wylie] came up with an idea that led to the foundation of a company called Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that went on to claim a major role in the Leave campaign for Britain’s EU membership referendum, and later became a key figure in digital operations during Donald Trump’s election campaign. In 2014, Steve Bannon ... was Wylie’s boss. And Robert Mercer, the secretive US hedge-fund billionaire and Republican donor, was Cambridge Analytica’s investor. The idea they bought into was to bring big data and social media to an established military methodology – “information operations” – then turn it on the US electorate. By [2017], Steve Bannon had become Trump’s chief strategist. Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL, had won contracts with the US State Department and was pitching to the Pentagon, and Wylie was genuinely freaked out. “It’s insane,” he told me one night. “The company has created psychological profiles of 230 million Americans. And now they want to work with the Pentagon? It’s like Nixon on steroids.” He ended up showing me a tranche of documents that laid out the secret workings behind Cambridge Analytica. Wylie ... came up with a plan to harvest the Facebook profiles of millions of people in the US, and to use their private and personal information to create sophisticated psychological and political profiles. And then target them with political ads designed to work on their particular psychological makeup.

Note: Billionaire Robert Mercer used this new new technology to build a corporate empire capable of swinging elections by using military propaganda strategies on civilian populations. The above article further details how mass media is being combined with Big Data to produce powerful new forms of mind control. Watch an astounding video revealing how Cambridge Analytica has successfully manipulated national elections around the world.


Our Hackable Political Future
2018-02-04, New York Times
Posted: 2018-03-12 21:49:10
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/04/opinion/hacking-politics-future.html

Imagine it is the spring of 2019. A bottom-feeding website, perhaps tied to Russia, “surfaces” video of a sex scene starring an 18-year-old Kirsten Gillibrand. It is soon debunked as a fake, the product of a user-friendly video application that employs generative adversarial network technology to convincingly swap out one face for another. Then it is fall. The junior senator from New York State announces her campaign for the presidency. At a diner in New Hampshire, one “low information” voter asks another: “Kirsten What’s-her-name? She’s running for president? Didn’t she have something to do with pornography?” Welcome to the shape of things to come. The technology [is] closer than you might think. And even when fake video isn’t perfect, it can convince people who want to be convinced, especially when it reinforces ... stereotypes. It might be impossible to stop the advance of this kind of technology. But the relevant algorithms here aren’t only the ones that run on computer hardware. They are also the ones that undergird our too easily hacked media system, where garbage acquires the perfumed scent of legitimacy with all too much ease. It already feels as though we are living in an alternative science-fiction universe where no one agrees on what it true. Just think how much worse it will be when fake news becomes fake video. Democracy assumes that its citizens share the same reality. We’re about to find out whether democracy can be preserved when this assumption no longer holds.

Note: Read more about producing fake video with computer programs. While governments 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.


From fake news to fabricated video, can we preserve our shared reality?
2018-02-22, Christian Science Monitor
Posted: 2018-03-05 05:42:19
https://www.csmonitor.com/Technology/2018/0222/From-fake-news-to-fabricated-v...

People tend to trust video evidence as an arbiter of truth. But that faith could soon become quaint, as machine learning is enabling ordinary users to create fabricated videos of just about anyone doing just about anything. Earlier this month, the popular online forum Reddit shut down r/deepfakes, a subreddit discussion board devoted to using open-source machine-learning tools to insert famous faces into pornographic videos. This episode represents just one of the many ways that the this technology could fuel social problems, particularly in an age of political polarization. Combating the negative effects of fabricated video will require a shift among both news outlets and news consumers. “When you see something, or when you believe that you’re seeing something and hearing something, it has a much more visceral impact ... than when it’s something that you’re just reading about,” says Henry Farrell, a professor of political science. Professor Farrell warned that this technology’s “implications for democracy are eye-opening,” in a Feb. 4 New York Times op-ed. “Democracy assumes that its citizens share the same reality,” the op-ed concluded. “We’re about to find out whether democracy can be preserved when this assumption no longer holds.” When mixed with confirmation bias – the tendency to process information in a way that conforms to one’s preexisting beliefs – [the technology] could become an increasingly destructive social influence, one that corrodes even good-faith efforts to tell the truth.

Note: Read more about producing fake video with machine learning programs. While governments 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.


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.


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