196
   

monitoring Trump and relevant contemporary events

 
 
blatham
 
  2  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2020 06:43 am
Some very interesting data on the emerging post-Trump competition between Fox and other right wing media hopefuls.

Fox News staffers thought Newsmax was a joke. But they're not laughing anymore
Quote:
And Newsmax is one of many Fox challengers. One America News is not rated by Nielsen, which is normally a sign that a channel is very small, but the channel's owners say that their internal metrics show big post-election gains. Google searches for both Newsmax and One America News both spiked after Election Day.

Charles Herring, the president of OANN, said Friday that "a massive wave of former Fox News viewers have abandoned Fox and have found a home at OAN." He said some former Fox viewers "believe new pro left voices have infiltrated the network."

Other right-wing outlets include two streaming services: BlazeTV, with Glenn Beck and Mark Levin among the hosts, and The First TV, with Bill O'Reilly. One throughline of most of Fox's rivals: They employ former Fox talent.


We'll note that Sinclair isn't even mentioned here nor the thousands of ultra-low-budget crazies tossing content out onto Facebook or elsewhere.

It's difficult to see or predict how this plays out over the next years. Some observations:
- The huge amounts of money such entities can pull in tells us that it will continue.
- Trump's style or strategy of setting players at odds with one another so as to more easily blackmail them into absolute support for him is fracturing Fox's hegemony
- The new challengers to Fox are differentiating themselves with Fox by carrying even more paranoid-style content along with an elevated level of rabble rousing. Where Fox pushed Tea Party events, these modern competitors are far more likely to voice calls to "take up arms to protect liberty".
- The prior situation of 20 years ago where Fox, Limbaugh and the Wall Street Journal comprised a triad that dominated right wing media and established a framework for right wing consensus is no longer the case. MAGA rallies now feature not only chants of "Fake Media" but also "Fox sucks".
- Big social media entities like Facebook, because they are not political operations but rather money-making enterprises which profit from isolating groups of citizens and feeding them whatever content they respond to, are clearly contributing to this dynamic of fracturing gate-keeper functions previously in place.
- The present situation where voices in this new right wing universe are calling for Republican voters to boycott the Georgia senatorial seats - a movement which McConnell, Koch and the GOP definitely would like to crush - points to how this can go very wrong for the establishment right.

If we're lucky, these trends will hasten the breakup of modern conservatism and the GOP, but I'm not counting on it.
hightor
 
  6  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2020 06:54 am
@oristarA,
oristarA wrote:
Saying that the 2020 election was stolen is statistically insignificant. Most experts have unanimously agreed that the election was hunky-dory, which strongly rejects your idea of "The whole world knows it was stolen."


You need to understand that when that rather pathetic character uses the term "the whole world" it doesn't mean the entire planet and it doesn't include everyone. No, in the special parlance of the Trump dead-enders:

1. the "whole world" means about half of the people who voted for Trump, maybe forty million out of a world population of 7 - 8 billion

2. the word "knows" doesn't indicate actual knowledge or understanding, it is just used as a synonym for "believes"

3. "stolen" is simply thrown in to make it seem as if something illegal or criminal occurred but when you ask these deluded dead-enders why these charges have been repeatedly thrown out of court they're not honest enough to simply admit they'd been duped

4. it's likely that fewer and fewer citizens of the "whole world" will continue to deceive themselves about a "stolen election" as the Biden presidency assumes power and the appalling spell Trump exerts on them begins to fade
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  4  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2020 06:56 am
As if we needed another reason to rebalance the Supreme Court
Quote:
Splitting 5 to 4, Supreme Court Backs Religious Challenge to Cuomo’s Virus Shutdown Order

Justice Amy Coney Barrett played a decisive role in the decision, which took the opposite approach of earlier court rulings related to coronavirus restrictions in California and Nevada
.
NYT
hightor
 
  3  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2020 07:03 am
@blatham,
Gee, does anyone remember something called the "establishment clause" of the U.S. Constitution? Apparently it's been removed and replaced by a fake clause which reads the same way but no longer means what it says.
hightor
 
  3  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2020 07:11 am
Troll Factories

Quote:
Donald Trump’s​ press conference on 5 November, in which he claimed he had won the election and said there had been mass voter fraud, was like a scene from a dystopian movie. His allegations were so egregious that TV networks cut away from their live broadcast of his remarks. Yet in the months and years leading up to that moment it was as if no lessons had been learned from Trump’s victory in 2016, or from the Brexit campaign in the UK earlier that year. Populist leaders in Western democracies have continued their demagoguery, and mainstream media outlets have continued to indulge them. Meanwhile, citizens have lost faith in the media’s capacity, or willingness, to tell them the truth. Those on the left accuse the press and broadcasters of indulging the right; those on the right accuse the media of not indulging them enough.

Much of the blame, as the liberal consensus has it, lies with the misinformation emanating from Russia and circulating on social media. Russia is pro-Trump; it wants to disrupt elections and break up the EU; it causes chaos, interferes with ballots. We are told that an ‘information war’ is being waged by authoritarian states against Western democracies. All this is to ignore the fact that misinformation networks don’t respect state borders or distinctions between political systems. The ‘Russia Report’ published this summer by the UK Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, while rightly cautioning against exaggerations of the Kremlin’s foreign policy ambitions and its capacity to fulfil them, nevertheless falls into the trap of subscribing to the ‘information war’ paradigm. It argues that ‘the operational role’ in protecting our ‘democratic discourse’ must ‘sit primarily with MI5’, the UK’s counterintelligence and security agency. This idea – that public discourse should be protected by intelligence services – is something we might ordinarily expect from the Kremlin, not from a Western government. In this case, it stems from the assumption that the main threats to democracy come from without.

It’s easy to see how the ‘Russia factor’ came to play such a dominant role. After the US elections in 2016, an investigation by American intelligence agencies found that from 2013 onwards a Russian government-affiliated troll factory called the ‘Internet Research Agency’ had been attempting to influence US voters by means of an extensive, well co-ordinated campaign of astroturfing – the use of online fake accounts to mimic grassroots activities. Thousands of fake accounts purportedly belonging to US citizens or organisations were set up by the IRA, and began to disseminate content across social media platforms. In the weeks leading up to the election, these accounts focused increasingly on circulating pro-Trump propaganda. Alongside the IRA campaign, Russia-affiliated hackers infiltrated the computer networks of the Democratic National Committee and leaked into the public domain emails that embroiled Hillary Clinton in scandal. This wasn’t the first attempt by a foreign state to interfere in elections, but it was the largest known operation of its kind against a Western democracy. And so the actions of the US’s Cold War adversary came to be seen as a means of explaining away the Trump phenomenon.

Many politicians, journalists and observers were quick to assert that the activities of the Russian troll factory were a ‘significant’ or even ‘decisive’ factor in Trump’s victory in 2016 – see the New Yorker (issues passim) or Nina Jankowicz’s recent book How to Lose the Information War: Russia, Fake News and the Future of Conflict (Bloomsbury, £20) – and the threat of Russian interference was a continual source of anxiety in the early stages of this year’s campaign. But the focus should have been on sources of right-wing misinformation in the US itself, which have been the subject of several recent academic studies. Researchers at Indiana University working on the role of astroturfing in US elections detected the use of false accounts in support of Republican candidates in the midterm elections in 2010. In 2017, a report by Oxford University’s Computational Propaganda Research Project suggested a high density within the US of ‘cyber troops’: ‘government, military or political party teams committed to manipulating public opinion over social media’.

The proliferation of misleading allegations of mass fraud in this year’s presidential election makes clear how counterproductive it was to view Trump’s victory in 2016 as a consequence of the threat to democracy posed by external authoritarian actors. Right-wing conspiracy theories are spread by homegrown US outfits such as Project Veritas, started in 2010 by James O’Keefe, and Infowars, set up a decade earlier by Alex Jones. RT, the Russian state’s international broadcaster, also relays misinformation, but it has far smaller audiences in Western societies than local providers of hyper-partisan news. The coverage of Rudy Giuliani’s accusations of electoral fraud by Newsmax, a conservative media organisation that has been operating out of Florida for more than twenty years, had 1.6 million views within hours of being posted on YouTube on 10 November. By comparison, RT America’s coverage had nine thousand views by the end of the following day. Newsmax, Project Veritas and Infowars are followed by millions, leaving the online presence of broadcasters such as CNN, ABC and the BBC in the shade.

It is only in the last month that mainstream media outlets have begun to pay more attention to American misinformation sources, scrutinising the role of sites like Infowars and new platforms such as Parler in enlisting supporters at pro-Trump rallies. Trump and Trumpism is not a glitch in American democracy that starts and ends with the man himself. In How Democracies Die (2018), Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt’s analysis helps us to understand why more than seventy million US citizens voted for Trump in November, and why multiple Republican officials supported claims of electoral fraud despite the absence of evidence. For a democratic system to endure, trust in the integrity of elections is essential. Levitsky and Ziblatt show that the casting of doubt on the electoral process, particularly by Republican officials, began in the US at the end of the 1990s, implicitly delegitimising the Democrats as popular representatives. Even before the 2016 vote, polls showed that the majority of registered Republicans believed that significant levels of fraud occurred during US elections, although by any real measure electoral irregularities in the US are extremely rare.

Unfortunately, the reaction of the press and the Democratic Party to evidence of Russian interference in 2016 only contributed to the erosion of public confidence in elections. The New York Times created a tag – ‘Russian Hacking and Influence in the US Election’ – under which to gather its many articles on the theme. There is no doubt that Russia did try to interfere in 2016, but evidence of Russian intentions has been systematically misread as evidence of Russian success in actually changing votes. We now have a body of research showing that the impact of the IRA on US voting in 2016 was minimal. The circulation of tweets and other social media posts can easily be measured, and they didn’t swing the election. Actual hacking, on the other hand, did have an effect – but only because of the way it was reported in the media, undermining confidence in Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.

Those researching the role of the IRA have noted a curious fact: the surprisingly low level of Russian troll activity in the swing states that decide the outcomes of US elections. The most active IRA accounts in 2016, with the largest number of followers, purported to belong to a local Republican Party organisation in Tennessee – a solidly red state in the previous four elections. Studies of the operation of troll factories in various countries suggest an explanation: it’s a result of the way the employees of such outfits are remunerated. Since the pay of rank and file trolls isn’t linked to outcomes but to their success in circulating information, it doesn’t matter to them whether their activities actually change voters’ preferences. In order to gain more followers, the trolls follow one another’s accounts, retweet one another’s posts and use identical content. The practices that maximise their wages necessarily reduce the political effectiveness of their activities. It made financial sense for IRA employees to disseminate right-wing posts to friendly audiences in Tennessee rather than spend time and energy on posts that might or might not have resonated in swing states.

Despite being an operational failure, the IRA was a strategic success, since the airtime devoted to it – all the while exaggerating its actual effects – cast further doubt on the integrity of electoral processes in the digital age. Trump and his supporters can now spin to their advantage the perception created in 2016 by those opposed to him that the electoral process can be successfully rigged. The representation of Russia as the cause of electoral swings towards politicians who violate democratic norms serves the Kremlin’s interests, too, attributing to Putin far greater power than he actually has. It also assists the Russian political elite in arguing that the West is paranoid and Russophobic. The same applies to talk of the information wars being waged by any foreign state – China, North Korea, Iran. The picture of misinformation as an external threat to be countered by a democratic fourth estate, with the support of the intelligence and security services, deflects us from confronting the wider pathologies in media operations at home. The fallout from this year’s US presidential election shows that this confrontation can no longer be postponed.

lrb
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2020 07:19 am
@hightor,
As it happens, the first thing I ever put out on the intertubes (abuzz) was an extended essay on why faith groups should not be permitted any unique dispensation in a constitutional democracy. I wish I'd kept a copy but I've never archived what I write.
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2020 07:27 am
@hightor,
Quote:
The practices that maximise their wages necessarily reduce the political effectiveness of their activities. It made financial sense for IRA employees to disseminate right-wing posts to friendly audiences in Tennessee rather than spend time and energy on posts that might or might not have resonated in swing states.
That's a very smart observation.
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  2  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2020 07:28 am
@BillW,
BillW wrote:

There is a good here, Flynn must now tell whatever he knows. If he tells a lie, this can and will be held against him in a court of law!


That is the thing I think Trump's advisors are holding from him. Let him give those pardons. The people pardoned can then be called into court and required to testify. I suggest their testimony better be major league truthful, because if they even fib...their asses are gonna be fried.

And some of their testimony can hurt him!
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2020 07:35 am
Yesterday, I took about an hour of my day to watch highlights from Maradona's career. And I have nothing like an adequate sentence to follow that first one.
Frank Apisa
 
  2  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2020 07:40 am
@blatham,
blatham wrote:

As it happens, the first thing I ever put out on the intertubes (abuzz) was an extended essay on why faith groups should not be permitted any unique dispensation in a constitutional democracy. I wish I'd kept a copy but I've never archived what I write.


Several years ago I did a search of Abuzz posts that had been archived somewhere on the Internet...and found an old post of mine. (It was not a complete archive) Haven't been able to relocate the site that had it, but apparently it had archived the posts of several now defunct sites. I tried to search for it just now, but came up empty. If you want to put some effort into it, maybe you can find it.
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2020 07:46 am
@Frank Apisa,
Years ago, I did do such a search but came up empty-handed. I suppose I'll have to live with the that whole universal heat death thing.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  2  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2020 08:10 am
@blatham,
Jay Rosen, speaking to the CNN piece posted above...
Quote:
Then the very thing you [Fox] rode to glory — resentment news — turns against you. You are now the resented.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  -2  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2020 08:41 am
@blatham,
blatham wrote:
Yesterday, I took about an hour of my day to watch highlights from Maradona's career. And I have nothing like an adequate sentence to follow that first one.

He was a cheater. Good riddance to him.
snood
 
  2  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2020 08:55 am
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:

blatham wrote:
Yesterday, I took about an hour of my day to watch highlights from Maradona's career. And I have nothing like an adequate sentence to follow that first one.

He was a cheater. Good riddance to him.


You see Blatham is a fan, so you hurry to **** on his memory and Blatham’s feelings. Who does **** like that?
oralloy
 
  -3  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2020 09:02 am
@snood,
Actually I didn't perceive that Blatham is a fan.

But now that you point it out, I'm not at all surprised that Blatham is a fan of a lowlife cheater. What other sort of person would Blatham be a fan of?

Blatham is a bad person. Who cares if he feels pain? I save my empathy for people who are deserving of empathy.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  3  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2020 09:10 am
@snood,
He’s not the most popular of sportsmen over here following the ‘Hand of God’ incident, but following the defeat in the Falkland’s war I can see why that made him popular over there.

If nothing else it helped improve Anglo Irish relations after Thierry Henri did the same thing to Ireland. The Irish were taken about by the support the English fans gave them.
0 Replies
 
Region Philbis
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2020 09:32 am
@snood,
Quote:
Who does **** like that?
a very unstable person, that's who...
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2020 10:07 am
@Region Philbis,
Quote:
@snood,
Quote:
Who does **** like that?
a very unstable person, that's who...

Don't trouble yourselves, guys. I don't care in the slightest what these boys write or think which is why I never read them. Each one is a zero.
blatham
 
  3  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2020 10:25 am
Trump nine months ago
Quote:
“Within a couple of days, it’s going to be down to close to zero. That’s a pretty good job we’ve done.” [02/26/20]
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2020 10:29 am
In other news the Ethiopian army is about to begin an assault on Mekelle, the regional capital of Tigray province, currently controlled by rival group the TPLF.
0 Replies
 
 

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