Anti-globalism Is Common Factor in Social Media Conspiracy Theories, says UW Prof

Fascinating academic effort to find a pattern in apparently random conspiracy theories that regularly pop up in our infostreams during social crises. Experts usually dismiss them because they are so wild and unlikely, and have thus failed to notice their impact. Starbird’s insight was to map the digital connections between all this buzzing on Twitter with a conglomeration of websites. Then she analyzed the content of each site to try…

First Evidence That Social Bots Play a Major Role in Spreading Fake News

Shad and co say bots play a particularly significant role in the spread of fake news soon after it is published. What’s more, these bots are programmed to direct their tweets at influential users. “Automated accounts are particularly active in the early spreading phases of viral claims, and tend to target influential users,” say Shao and co. That’s a clever strategy. Information is much more likely to become viral when…

“The threat is no longer simply from government censorship.”

After using examples from Warsaw and Prague, the 2007 edition of my journalism textbook predicts: The threat is no longer simply from government censorship. With new technology, government is more likely to subvert the press by trying to discredit its integrity and dilute its influence. It has more tools to do that in the twenty-first century, creating pseudo-journalism in the form of faux news websites, video news releases, subsidies to…

An apology to Donald Trump, from the “fake news” media

A good example of the power of satire. Trump used Tuesday night’s rally to denounce the “fake news” media for being mean, dishonest, bad, America-hating and an all-around pain in his keister. […] After spending 15 or so minutes complaining about the media, he said of the media: “For the most part, all they do is complain. … These are really, really dishonest people and they’re bad people and I…

As Trump ranted and rambled in Phoenix, his crowd slowly thinned 

The journalist chose to spotlight a little girl who’s both a Trump supporter and an aspiring journalist. This is how journalists can be creative — by choosing what details to focus on. “What happened in Charlottesville strikes at the core of America,” Trump said, appearing to read from the teleprompters placed on stage. “And tonight, this entire arena stands united in forceful condemnation of the thugs who perpetrate hatred and…

Judge orders Montana congressman who assaulted a reporter to be formally booked on assault charge, months after his election

A judge has ordered Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte to be photographed and fingerprinted for assaulting a reporter in May, opening the door for the congressman’s mug shot to be plastered in opponents’ campaign ads in next year’s election. […]  The day after the assault, Gianforte defeated Democrat Rob Quist in the special election to replace Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke as Montana’s only congressman. | Gianforte pleaded guilty in June. | Gianforte was fined $385 and ordered to perform…