September 20, 2017

A Question for Dr. Garrett

The S2 Appendix to Epistemic beliefs’ role in promoting misperceptions and conspiracist ideation stated, “38.2% of respondents identified as Trump supporters.” 

The appendix did not state the percentage of respondents who identified as Clinton supporters.

Why was the percentage of respondents identified as Trump supporters included in the S2 Appendix and what was the relevance of that data to the research?

September 19, 2017

Snopes denies Jane Fonda betrayed American POWs

The headline in Snopes:

Snopes verdict:

Snopes justified that conclusion by claiming Jane Fonda didn't turn over any nonexistent written messages from POWs to their captors.

However, during her 1972 tour of North Vietnam, Jane Fonda recorded propaganda messages on behalf of our enemies. Her Radio Hanoi broadcasts condemning America troops as war criminals falsely claimed, among other things, that American POWs were being treated humanely. While all this was going on, POWs who refused to cooperate or meet with her were beaten by their captors. Jane Fonda's apologists at Snopes relegated those betrayals of American POWs to the memory hole. 

Now you know the rest of the story.

September 18, 2017

Fake Snopes News about EPA Head

In its typically dishonest and defamatory fashion, Snopes falsely accused the head of the EPA of being a climate change denier.

EPA chief Scott Pruitt has not denied climate change, and the New Republic admitted he has not even explicitly denied that humans cause climate change.

This article will be updated in the unlikely event Snopes and its fact-checker Bethania Palma corrects the fake news. 

September 17, 2017

Politifact's Politicized Math

In a report published on August 9th, 2017, Politifact labeled the following statement false:
Bill Clinton gave North Korea $5 billion and two nuclear reactors in 1994, essentially giving them nukes.
However, according to a New York Times article published on October 19, 1994:
WASHINGTON, Oct. 18— President Clinton approved a plan today to arrange more than $4 billion in energy aid to North Korea during the next decade in return for a commitment from the country's hard-line Communist leadership to freeze and gradually dismantle its nuclear weapons development program.
So Clinton's agreement wasn't for $5 billion, it was only for "more than $4 billion."

Snopes' False Satanic Temple Case Report

The Satanic Temple filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a Planned Parenthood client referred to by the alias "Mary Doe." Snopes falsely reported the plaintiffs in the case argued that the state of Missouri violated the First Amendment "by forcing women to read a booklet which includes religiously-founded claims that human life begins at conception." 

Missouri law does not force women to read a booklet (the Missouri Lectionary) and the plaintiffs did not make that argument in the complaint linked to by the Snopes article. The complaint actually contended that the law required the Planned Parenthood client  "to certify in writing that she has received the Booklet." As explicitly stated in defendants motion to dismiss, the Planned Parenthood client "did not have to avail herself of that information or even read it." 

Mary Doe had an abortion at the Planned Parenthood facility on May 12, 2015. 

This article will be updated in the unlikely event that Snopes corrects its fake news.

Snopes, The Satanic Temple, and Planned Parenthood

Snopes claims that Planned Parenthood and The Satanic Temple have not worked together to oppose laws restricting abortion rights in Missouri. However, the Snopes description of The Satanic Temple case omits the following facts of the case establishing a Planned Parenthood nexus:  
The State of Missouri has claimed that TST cannot use RFRA in support of their case because Mary merely disagreed with the mandated informed consent materials and was not motivated by her religious beliefs as a Satanist to seek an abortion. However, this is untrue. Mary decided to get an abortion in accordance with her religious beliefs and proceeded to do so on May 8, 2015. She went to Planned Parenthood, asked them to immediately provide her an abortion during her visit and delivered a letter of religious exemption absolving the clinic of any responsibility for doing so.
Was Snopes' omission knowing and deliberate, or simply due to a lack of due diligence?

September 16, 2017

Bing's New Labeled Search Results

Jacob Kastrenakes, writing for The Verge, reports that the Bing search engine is adding Snopes labels to its search results. Going forward, Bing will evaluate and classify users' search results as a means of policing information that Snopes may consider "illegitimate." Bing's new labeling policy raises a number of questions not addressed by The Verge article, including:
  • Will this be a user opt-in feature? If not, why not?
  • May users opt-out of Snopes result labeling?
  • Will Bing automatically assume that all Snopes evaluations are correct?
  • Has Bing tested a set of Snope evaluations for accuracy?
  • If so, what were the evaluation criteria, procedures, and results? 
  • Will Bing employ any quality testing of Snopes evaluations going forward?
  • If Web sources returned in the Bing results disagree with the Snopes labels, what process will Bing provide them for contesting the labeling?  
  • If any Snopes labels are determined to be subjective or erroneous, what corrective actions will Bing take?
  • Will Bing provide any type of notice to labeled Websites?
The Verge article also notes:
Like on Google, the fact checking labels aren’t limited to just the major fact checking sites — there’s some common code that websites can embed to let search engines pull out their information. That leaves the tag open for abuse by, of course, the same people making these false stories in the first place.
The Verge expressed no concern for the possibility of tag abuse resulting from Snopes evaluations.

USA Today's Fake Condoleezza Rice Photograph

Back in 2005, Michelle Malkin caught USA Today altering a picture of Condoleezza Rice in order to give the Secretary of State a demonic appearance. The original image and the fake USA Today image are shown side-by-side below.

Tip of the hat to Gateway Pundit. 

September 15, 2017

Jim Sleeper and Godwin's Law

In his Washington Spectator article entitled Fake News was Hallmark of MSM Long Before Trump and Twitter, Jim Sleeper wrote:
If Trump had been a bit more grandiloquent in 2016, he might have warned us that “all great movements are movements of the people, are volcanic eruptions of human passions and spiritual sensations, stirred . . . by . . . the torch of the word thrown into the masses, and are not the lemonade-like outpourings of aestheticizing literati and drawing-room heroes.”

But those words were written by Hitler himself, in Mein Kampf, in 1926.

September 14, 2017

Fake News and Russian Conspiracy Theories

With a mind-numbing lack of self-awareness, the Pacific Standard's Tom Baker writes "it's hard not to see that [fake news] as a threat to our democracy," while he simultaneously promotes Hillary Clinton's discredited "Russian agents" conspiracy theories about the 2016 presidential election. 

September 13, 2017

Open Minded Fake News

Leslie Kitchen, in an article published by the History News Network, and then subsequently republished in Newsweek, explains what it means for those on the left to not be completely close-minded.
"For example, based on my personal values, that is, my most deeply held biases, Donald Trump is too vile, too uninformed, and too temperamentally unfit to lead a nation. And it is highly doubtful that anyone could amass enough information to move me from my opinion. But I am not completely close-minded on the subject."

September 12, 2017

Newsweek Hides Hurricane Fake News

Tom Porter, in a Newsweek article entitled Hurricane Irma: The Fake News and False Rumors Going Viral as Storm Approaches, listed several "fake news" hurricane stories circulating the Web. However, Tom missed two of the most amusing reports, probably because they both originated with Newsweek writers.

September 11, 2017

CBS Image Manipulation

Did 60 Minutes manipulate Steve Bannon's image during the 60 Minutes interview with Charlie Rose? Peter Duke explores that question in the following video.

A Tale of Two Headlines

Washington Post, September 1, 2017

New York Daily News, September 11, 2017