Tag Archives: fake news

A National Transport Authority (NTA) ‘time-lapse’ videos claiming to show chronic tailbacks “didn’t bear any relation” to realisty

Jim Cumiskey writes:

Have you seen what the NTA is up to with BusConnects. They’ve been forced to remove three misleading videos from their PR campaign which give a false impression of traffic volumes.

This outfit is sounding increasingly like several other central Government organizations. LaLa land planning, total disconnect from public needs, rotten budgeting, poor consultation, false info….

Anyone?

NTA removes misleading videos from BusConnects campaign (Irish Times)

From top: Garda HQ in Phoenix Park; Paul Williams and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris

“What we know so far is that the specially adapted Range Rover, belonging to the PSNI’s close protection team, was delivering Drew Harris to the Phoenix Park following a visit to the North on Monday, 25 March.The Northern vehicle was driving in convoy behind an ERU vehicle that met the escort at the Border.

After the ERU vehicle drove in, the quick-thinking garda on sentinel duty was alarmed.

After all, she had spotted an unknown Northern-registered car driving towards the gates and immediately moved to activate the security bollard which is designed to prevent a suspect vehicle entering the complex.

…Drew Harris is still very much settling into his role as commissioner and his relationship with many of his top management staff is described as purely professional.

But despite any initial embarrassment about the actual incident, Mr Harris should in fact be congratulating the garda on the gate for her quick, clear-headed reaction to an alarming situation.”

Paul Williams, Irish Independent this morning

However…

“There was no security incident at Garda HQ on 25 March 2019. A newly installed bollard malfunctioned and caught the underside of the vehicle the Commissioner was travelling in. This happened at a walking pace. No vehicles were flipped.

The malfunction was quickly fixed and vehicular traffic went in and out of Garda HQ as normal that day. As per our previous statement, normal movement procedures were followed in relation to the Commissioner.”

Garda Press Office statement this afternoon.

Someone’s flipping fibbing.

YOU must decide.

Yesterday: What The Flip Is Going On?

Having sold Americans the seductive and conspiratorial notion that the man in the oval office was a compromised foreign agent, now comes a moment of reckoning for the US media…

Al Jazeera’s The Listening Post on Trump, Russia, and the collapse of the collusion narrative – the theory that Donald Trump colluded with Vladimir Putin to hijack the 2016 US presidential elections.

Previously: I’m Gonna Set It Straight, This Watergate

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg will meet three Irish members of an international committee targetting the spread of online misinformation in Dublin.

TDs Hildegarde Naughton, James Lawless, and Eamon Ryan of the International Grand Committee on Disinformation and Fake News will meet with the social media site’s founder tomorrow.

The Irish politicians will raise a number of concerns, including; the regulation of social media, transparency in political advertising and the safety of young people and vulnerable adults.

Mark Zuckerberg to meet with ‘fake news’ committee in Dublin (Breakingnews.ie)

Pic: Techmeme

Meanwhile…

Tin-foil wrapped coverage of alleged Trump/Russia collusion in The Irish Times from last August (top) and last December (above).

“Russiagate” has been a news media obsession since Trump’s victory in November 2016.

The nonpartisan Tyndall Report pegged the total amount of time devoted to the story on the evening newscasts of ABC, CBS and NBC last year at 332 minutes, making it the second-most covered story after the Senate confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.

According to a count by the Republican National Committee released Sunday, The Post, the New York Times, CNN.com and MSNBC.com have written a combined 8,507 articles mentioning the special counsel’s investigation.

The cable news networks, particularly CNN and MSNBC, have added hundreds of hours of discussion about the topic, too.

The story undoubtedly was an important factor in shaping voters’ perceptions before the 2018 midterm election, in which Democrats won control of the House.

But the conclusion of the inquiry has put a question once hazily debated into sharp focus: Did the mainstream news media mislead?

Only YOU can decide.

Conclusion of Mueller probe raises anew criticisms of coverage (Washington Post)

Saturday: ‘Closing In’

This afternoon.

Mughsot and booking information for American television star Jussie Smollett, who has been charged with staging a fake racial assault on himself by two Trump supporters involving bleach and a noose.

The 36-year-old actor is suspected of paying two Nigerian brothers to stage the attack. They are both co-operating with the investigation, police say.

He’s in so much trouble.

Empire star Jussie Smollett ‘staged hoax attack over salary’ (BBC)

Tuesday: Hate That

Oh.

Police sources: New evidence suggests Jussie Smollett orchestrated attack (CNN)

Eileen Culloty, of Dublin City University’s Institute for Future Media and Journalism, reports:

The DCU Institute for Future Media and Journalism (FuJo) will lead a €2.4 million EU project to develop new tools for improving how information is shared and received on social media.

The three-year project, called PROVENANCE, is funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme. The establishment of the PROVENANCE project reflects an acute awareness of the challenges posed for citizens by large scale disinformation, including misleading and outright false information.

Project solutions will make it easier for consumers to evaluate online information by providing a simple, graphical guide – almost like a nutritional label – that will clarify the source and history of a piece of content.

Hmm.

FuJo Leads €2.4m EU project on Digital Information (FuJo)

From top: Stephen Rea, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan

Yesterday.

In the Seanad.

Former Fine Gael Minister for the Environment and Carlow/Kilkenny TD Phil Hogan – who became the European Commissioner for Agriculture in September 2014 amid a string of controversies at the time – addressed the Seanad.

Readers may recall how one of these controversies concerned an Irish Daily Mail front page story in 2012 about how the then Environment Minister had written to some of his constituents in Kilkenny, telling them a Traveller family – Patrick and Brigid Carthy and their seven children – would not be moved to a house near them.

Phoenix magazine later reported that former Irish Independent journalist Eimear Ni Bhraonain had the story for 10 days before the rival paper but her editors held off from printing it and only did so when the Irish Daily Mail was on the verge of publishing it.

Further to this…

Yesterday.

During his address to the Seanad, Mr Hogan spoke about “fake news” and praised the Group Editor-in-Chief of Independent News and Media Stephen Rae who was recently appointed to the European Commission High Level Expert Group on Fake News.

Mr Hogan was speaking about Brexit when he praised Mr Rae.

He said:

“The EU institutions have been shaken from their slumber. It is noticeable that there is a new energy and a new desire to get things done. In a world of rising nationalism and retrenchment, the EU is occupying the space that has been vacated by others to lead from the front across multiple policy areas.

“The EU is now the unquestioned global leader in promoting open and fair trade that is based on rules. As the Cathaoirleach mentioned, in the past two years we have signed important new deals with Canada, Japan and Singapore. Earlier this week, I was delighted to announce an agreement with Mexico.

“Many of these deals are immensely positive for our agrifood producers and our pharmaceuticals and financial services sectors. This is very good news for Ireland. Size matters in trade. As the world’s leading trading bloc, the EU is in a position of strength to build mutually beneficial agreements with our global partners.

“We are driving the global agenda on climate and sustainability, which remains the single greatest challenge of our time. This country urgently needs to step up its contribution to meeting this challenge. We are trying to relight the flame of Europe’s enlightenment values by making truth and reason relevant again in a world of mistruths and fake news.

“Again, Brexit is important in this context. EU membership was a successful policy in the UK and was accepted as such by the majority of politicians and commentators. That did not stop a majority of people voting to scrap it. That is strange because one thing the Brexit story has shown is that the UK does not – by a long shot – have an alternative policy to EU membership.

“Even Brexiteers are happy to keep one foot in the EU, for example by continuing to participate in security and transport agreements and certain EU agencies. The fact remains that people in the UK voted to leave. As politicians, we might think successful policies always commend themselves, but that is not always the case.

“Successful policies need to be defended, articulated and communicated. Brexit has taught us all a sharp lesson in this regard. We need to understand this and incorporate it into our political lives as part of our stocktaking. We cannot take it for granted that people will vote for the EU, or like the EU, just because it happens to work.

“As I mentioned earlier, this has been a wake-up call for the European institutions. We have to look at how we can do things better in this regard. That is what we are discussing with member states and, through them, public representatives and people. Perhaps we can go a stage further by asking how everyone failed to spot that a disconnect was arising between citizens and their representatives.

“This disconnect dominates so much of our politics today. How did we allow our public discourse to be dominated by fake news and half-truths? How can we begin to remedy things and stop it happening here? Here again, Brexit should be a lesson, because another thing the Brexit story has shown us is a brand of politics in which concern for people’s real well-being has gone out the window, the soundbite has become more important than the truth and people can groom a majority to act against its own welfare. In short, we now have a brand of politics and commentary that, all too frequently, misleads rather than leads.

“It is remarkable that a successful UK economy is determined to be divergent rather than convergent with its neighbouring countries in Europe. If we look a little more widely, we see it is not only Brexit. Our political arguments are becoming coarsened and are having knock-on effects on our behaviour. One sign is the trigger-finger readiness of so many people to play the immigration card, even the race card.

Much of this is the result of fake news and the way in which what we used to call tall stories and gossip no longer goes from mouth to mouth but from one set of fingers to a million sets of eyes, with a tap on the keyboard.

“Brexit shows us how vulnerable we are in that regard. That is why the Commission is alerting member states to the dangers and advising them to set up an infrastructure that can counter what is happening.

The respected Irish Independent editor-in-chief, Mr [Stephen] Rea, is making a sterling contribution to this work, having been appointed to the European Commission’s high level expert group examining the issue of fake news. Next year’s elections to the European Parliament gives this added significance and urgency. We must be on our guard.

“My final thought on this issue is to underline the difference between bad publicity, contrary opinion and fake news. As politicians we all know about bad publicity and contrary opinion. It comes with the turf and we deal with it, but we do it in the world of truth. We have been slow to recognise that fake news is something else. It is not bad publicity, it is not contrary opinion, it is not in the world of truth. It is a fiction – a harmful fantasy.

“It is urgent that we find the way to reveal it for what it is, namely, political mischief and a wrecking ball.”

Read his address in full here

Previously: ‘Friendly Towards Hogan’

Had Your Phil Yet?

Phil In The Gaps

Harry Browne, lecturer at the School of Media at Dublin Institute of Technology 

In Village magazine…

DIT lecturer Harry Browne writes:

media (like healthcare) have a capitalism problem, and that everything from fake news to clickbait to inadequate investigative resources to Denis O’Brien flows from that basic source. But you don’t have to agree with me and name the underlying problem as capitalism to understand that there are structural causes for crises such as the one that erupted recently over Government ‘advertorial’.

“I believe the Government is attempting to exploit the difficulties many local and regional titles are facing to promote their party interests”, said no less a media critic than Fianna Fáil’s Timmy Dooley, the party’s spokesman on communications. (How sweetly old-fashioned that word ‘communications’ can sound as it grapples with the changing world.)

Media literacy, if it is to be of any use, has to do more than implore us to look for the little ‘special feature’ tag on the top of a piece of paid corporate or government puffery, then to regard the ‘journalism’ below with due scepticism.

It must mean understanding ‘the difficulties’ for all journalism that operates in the current market, especially one in which technological change has accelerated existing trends toward blurred lines, and in which advertisers have alternatives to local and regional newspapers when it comes to reaching eyeballs.

If the most poignant aspect of that brief, quickly snowed-under ‘Ireland 2040’ crisis was the image of the Taoiseach issuing guidelines for labelling advertorial content – guidelines of which the most callow intern in a local newsroom should surely already be aware – we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that media have been operating at the edges of such guidelines for decades, for the benefit of advertisers looking to buy a little ersatz editorial credibility. How can this fail to be a lesson about how fragile, at best, any such credibility has become ?

As the media may or may not have told you, global research shows trust in media is in tatters – media are less trusted than governments, NGOs, businesses – and Irish people are at the mistrustful end of the distribution. In this context, media literacy can hardly consist of legacy media saying ‘trust us, not them’.

What can be done ? (Yes, short of getting rid of capitalism.) Anyone who has worked in a newsroom knows what a frightening prospect it would be to try to earn the public’s trust with transparency and accountability about our editorial practices.

On a daily basis, contingent and incomplete information is transformed into definitive statements of ringing certitude. That’s one sausage factory we don’t want you to see inside, especially since the work often consists of sticking our label on someone else’s meat.

The irony is that the technology often over-simplistically blamed for creating the journalism crisis has long offered tools for remarkable transparency, tools that most journalists have chosen to use only in limited ways…

 

Read in full: Capitalisteracy (Harry Browne, Village)

Earlier: The Great Irish Fake-Off