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jberryhill's Journal
jberryhill's Journal
July 25, 2019

Disinformation spread: bots, trolls and all of us

It would be great if more people understood how disinformation works.

It is not “someone is posting something I disagree with”:


Another misconception is that disinformation stems mainly from agents producing false content (paid ‘trolls’) and automated accounts (‘bots’) that promote it. But effective disinformation campaigns involve diverse participants; they might even include a majority of ‘unwitting agents’ who are unaware of their role, but who amplify and embellish messages that polarize communities and sow doubt about science, mainstream journalism and Western governments.

[...]We see authentic members of online communities become active contributors in disinformation campaigns, co-creating frames and narratives. One-way messages from deliberate actors would be relatively easy to identify and defuse. Recognizing the role of unwitting crowds is a persistent challenge for researchers and platform designers. So is deciding how to respond.

Perhaps the most confusing misconception is that the message of a campaign is the same as its goals. On a tactical level, disinformation campaigns do have specific aims — spreading conspiracy theories claiming that the FBI staged a mass-shooting event, say, or discouraging African Americans from voting in 2016. Often, however, the specific message does not matter. I and others think that the pervasive use of disinformation is undermining democratic processes by fostering doubt and destabilizing the common ground that democratic societies require.

Perhaps the most dangerous misconception is that disinformation targets only the unsavvy or uneducated, that it works only on ‘others’. Disinformation often specifically uses the rhetoric and techniques of critical thinking to foster nihilistic scepticism.


Much more at link.
July 22, 2019

Michael Avenatti's BLOCKBUSTER News Conference On The Release Of Michael Cohen Files

The other day, the US District Court for the Southern District of New York released the remaining Michael Cohen materials with the shocking revelation that Donald Trump knew of the hush money payment, and that there was a flurry of communications among Cohen, Trump, Hicks and Conway at that time.

To help us all understand the importance of these materials, Michael Avenatti, who does not actually represent anyone for any purpose relating to Cohen, and who is probably going to end up in jail for ripping of Stormy Daniels among others, helpfully held a press conference to explain it all to us:

July 12, 2019

I think my wife is trying to get rid of me....

Because it looks like she sewed labels into all of my shirts with my name and where I belong, in case I am found unconscious or wander off disoriented.

But they all say my name is Ralph Lauren, and I'm from Thailand.

July 11, 2019

Epstein Defense Pre-Trial Release Proposal


As I had predicted in an earlier thread, the defense is proposing at home detention with electronic monitoring, no entry to others, a minder, and a roster of other conditions.
July 11, 2019

Have we had a good knockdown drag-out about restaurant tipping lately?

Here's a cute one from a restaurant near me. I took this photo, because it was a jaw-dropper for me.

On the left is the "merchant copy" receipt for the customer to sign. On the right is the detailed bill:

Some additional facts to chew on:

This was a party of two, and there is no sign, note in the menu, or any other notice of the automatic service charge. Also, these sorts of charges are extremely unusual in restaurants in my area.

What I love about the merchant-copy is that it calculates the tip based on the total amount - including the already-added service charge.

Normally, I tip 20%, but if someone charges me 15% without even telling me about it up front, that's all they get. But deceptively throwing in check boxes for up to 20% on top of 15% is pretty ballsy.

July 11, 2019

Some more bold, crusading lawyers doing good for humanity

I got this ad while doing a search for some Epstein information.

Here's your next darling "go get 'em" presidential candidate pool right here, DU...

Can't wait until they do some press conferences and spend weeks at a time being praised as geniuses by Lawrence O'Donnell et al..

July 10, 2019

Worn out cliche countdown subject line in 3... 2...

That one could use a rest.
July 8, 2019

Epstein indictment to be released at 9AM, USAO-SDNY presser at 11AM - UPDATED

Everything you've read so far about the Epstein indictment includes a heavy load of speculation, in varying degrees of mild to off-the-rails.

One of the ways to handle bad news with disinformation is to include fictitious or over-the-top information among the actual facts, in order to attempt to fixate attention on the fake stuff. That way, when the fake stuff is shown for what it is, the long-overlooked truth is simply brushed aside.

That is, for example, how the fake Texas Air National Guard Memo was a brilliant tactic. Rather than to attempt to counter the allegations that W had a no-show post in the TANG simply to avoid the draft, the fake memo "confirmed" and reinforced that narrative. Because of the attention it got, the actual facts of W's non-service were swept away in a wave of "oh, that's bullshit" once it was shown to be fake.

Too many people think that trolls and disinfo agents spread material that opposes the viewpoint they are attempting to counter. But, no, that's not how it works at all. Disinfo is much more likely to be stuff you agree with and/or are predisposed to believe, so that you'll latch onto things that will take you right down a rabbit hole.

In the media, and on social media, the "analysts" that get attention are the ones who are attention-getting, and not necessarily accurate or realistic in their prediction. Media doesn't run on being accurate. It runs on getting eyeballs and attention. There is a reason why "TV lawyers" are on TV, instead of actually practicing law.

The measure of whether something is true or accurate is not "I believe it" or "it suits my biases". It's the stuff with which you agree, which merits a healthy level of skepticism.

So, when the indictment is released, I would encourage you to READ THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENT FIRST before turning to the Wheel of Soothsayers who will be happy to provide you with any opinion about it which tickles your particular fancy.

Original US legal documents are written in English, and they get easier to read the more you exercise your ability to find things out for yourself, instead of depending on the opinions of others to form your own.


The original indictment is here:


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Gender: Male
Hometown: Delaware
Member since: Fri Jan 20, 2006, 07:14 PM
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