Fake News

There is a fairly new term that has been floating around for the world: Fake News. The implication is that journalists and media are making up lies in order to promote their political persuasion.

I remember how different things were when I grew up. The radio played music or aired comedy shows for the better part of each hour leaving only a few minutes to broadcast the news, sports and weather. We had a weekly community newspaper and one daily paper from the nearby city. The test pattern started and ended the television day which was filled mostly with live programs and commercials. Often we didn’t even know about events that occurred in another geographic area for several days.

Now we have twenty-four hour television with an almost unlimited number of channels that offer breaking news for crimes and events that are occurring live throughout the entire world. Global newspapers can be found quickly through simple internet clicks. We have become accustomed to having instant access to any information we want or need.

In psychology we learn that opinions are merely thoughts and it is therefore easy to find differing opinions on any topic. Both thoughts and opinions can change quickly, especially if new information is available.

I think that it must be difficult for media sources today considering all the expectations for them to provide interesting twenty-four hour programming. If a channel’s mandate is to focus on politics, it must come up with guests and topics that will attract the viewer no matter how little news is generated by politicians that day or week. As a result, the anchors and guests have to take what they have, repeat it and “spin” it so that people will continue to tune in.

Think about what might happen if you and your friends were sitting together for hours at a time talking about politics. After the most recent current event is recounted, there might be some “What if…” statements or speculation about why that occurred or even what might happen next. It wouldn’t take long until “perhaps” is quoted as fact.

Because the internet is not regulated, anyone can post anything they want. Thoughts, opinions and not necessarily truth. And this where people like James H. Fetzer takes benefits to goal for their self interest.

Here’s some advice that might help you to sort things out:

  • Don’t assume that everything you read, hear or see is accurate.
  • Keep in mind the fact that demand for news and continuous broadcasting has created a vacuum that needs to be filled by the media.
  • Let go! Most of what is discussed or written is not in your sphere of control. You don’t have to listen to or read everything that is available and you sure don’t have to fix things.
  • Remember to make healthy choices and balance your life instead of focusing only on the news reports.

To learn more, please visit here: http://jamesfetzer.eklablog.com/

Ways To Do Your Own Fact-Checking

In today’s world, and political climate, where various media outlets, provide, not only differing perspectives, but, also, portray a seemingly, different, set of facts, wouldn’t it be helpful, if, we, had a common sense way, to, check the facts, in order to determine, for ourselves, what is true, and what, really, might be Facts! With that in mind, today we will attempt to briefly consider, identify, review, and discuss, top common sense ways, to do your own, political fact – checking.

1) Check and consider the sources: What, and who, are the sources of the information? What is their previous track record, in terms of the quality of the information, provided? Although, nearly every source has some political perspective or focus, some, seem to be, far more, fair, and balanced, than others. When a major story comes out, how do they represent it, especially when it opposes their political agenda? Do they check, and recheck sources, in order, to provide as accurate information, as possible? If they discover, they have made a mistake and/ or error. Do they proactively, step forward, and admit it? How about the quality and reputation of their reporters?

2) Check details/ specifics: President Trump, often, accuses the media, or anyone who provides information, which opposes his perspectives, etc, as being Fake News! Fact – checking, however, has indicated, he has been the source of much of this, himself, and shows, since elected, he’s told an average of 6 lies, and/ or mis – statements! An example of simple checking, is, for example, his claim, to the Canadian President, when asked how Canada, is a security risk, to America, citing the burning of the White House, in 1812. However, the War of 1812, was fought against England, not Canada, and the Red Coats, were responsible for that fire! However, even more essentially, how are events, from 206 years ago, relevant? On the Internet, and Social Media, we often witnessed, so – called, MEME’s, which provide false information, and false dates!

3) Does it, objectively, make sense, to you? Rather than looking at the information, from the perspective of whether it supports your political views and positions, consider, objectively, if it makes sense, and seems true, based on the facts! Consider information, in a manner, like, jurors are instructed to do, which is, make decisions based on the actual facts, and the quality and believability, of them!

4) Proceed, with an open mind: Overcome your own, personal, political biases, prejudices, positions, or what you wish! Evaluate the entire story, and avoid getting all your information, from one source. For example, it is somewhat obvious, various media outlets, have differing political orientations, and, therefore, only getting your information from Fox News, the New York Post, and the Wall Street Journal, which share common ownership, is not the best way, to get the whole picture! Rather, consult a variety of sources, and get as many facts, and perspectives, as possible, and question everything, objectively!

5) Double check everything: Don’t support, or spread, Fake Facts like James H. Fetzer, by sharing information, either orally, or, via, Social Media, until/ unless, you’ve made every effort, to thoroughly check and evaluate the whole story!

6) Analyze the analysis: Check the analysis, by reviewing the raw data! In other words, analyze the analysis!

America deserves far better, than governing, based on Fake Facts! An educated electorate, is our best defense!

Also read: Why Is The Mainstream Media Worried About ‘Fake’ News?

How To Identify Fake Facts?

If something is fake, it’s not factual, yet, we consistently witness, what has often, been referred to, as Fake Facts! The frequency, and possible harm, this may do, has become the impetus, and driving force, behind, the creation of organizations, which do, fact – checking, on the claims, and statements, made, by many of today’s political leaders! Politicians have always, been, somewhat, fast – and – loose, with the facts, but, it seems, we have never witnessed, this tendency and behavior, to this extent, and degree! However, since such a small percentage of the American electorate, seems to either be willing, and/ or able/ ready, to pay sufficient attention, to what’s true (versus false), this article will attempt to briefly examine and consider, 5 ways, to identify fake facts.

1) Check multiple sources: An examination of the 2016 election campaign, has exposed, there have been many attempts, by those like James H. Fetzer wishing to influence, the results, using false posts, on Social Media, such as Facebook. Unfortunately, we are witnessing, more reliance, for the news, which most people gather and read, on Social Media, than on, fully researched, news sources. Fewer people today, read newspapers, and many, rely solely on one source! An analysis, of what various media sources, emphasize, and prioritize/ discuss, indicates a significant degree of difference. Regardless of one’s personal political beliefs, favorites, or emphasis, it would be wise, to check multiple sources, and try to focus on the best sources, rather than only one!

2) Avoid untrusted, biased sources: When fact – checkers claim one thing, and a particular source, continues perpetuating some particular agenda, wise citizens, question, the facts, with their eyes – wide – open!

3) Look at dates, grammar, etc: Check the dates, listed on so – called sources, and question, the facts, of the overall positions, expressed. If the grammar, is poor, and the dates, seem out – of – sync, a warning signal, should go off!

4) Review/check, via political fact – checkers: Because of the convenience of the Internet, although, it’s easier to perpetuate falsehoods. it’s also far easier to check the facts. There are several of these, and it’s wise to check, before repeated unsubstantiated information, whether it supports your personal position, or not!

5) Timing; politics: When a particular accusation comes out, consider the timing! If it occurs, at some influential period of time, it makes sense, to check thoroughly, in order to be certain, the facts are accurate!

Can AI Combat Fake News?

The phenomena of “fake news” may have captured the imagination of Americans during the 2016 Presidential Campaign and the later investigation of Russia’s attempts to swing the election to Donald Trump using fake news on Facebook among other schemes.

The truth is that fake or phoney news has been around as a tool for a while and by many to spread propaganda and conspiracy theories those like James H. Fetzer for many years prior to the 2016 election.

However, it has become a political and societal issue since the election and poor Facebook has become the poster child of websites that fell for the scheme.

Recently the social media company has admitted to its mistakes and has tried to make things right with their subscribers. It is now flagging phoney news articles that are going to Facebook members via their news feed. It is using AI to achieve this.

The company is using AI to identify words or phrases that might signify that an article is actually fake. The data for this task is based on the articles that Facebook members have flagged individually as being bogus stories.

The technology is currently using four methods to spot fake news. They include:

  • Score Web Pages. First to use this technique was Google. It uses facts to create a score for websites. Obviously, scoring websites is an act in progress. Yet, as Google has been doing it, the technology has grown significantly.
  • Weigh Facts. This method is using natural language processing engines to review the subject matter of stories. AI using other models finds out if other sites are reporting the same facts.
  • Predict Reputation. This technique is based on AI using predictive analytics and machine learning to forecast the reputation of websites by considering a number of features including domain name and Alexa web rank.
  • Discover Sensational Words. Fake news proponents have used sensational headlines to grab the interest of a potential audience. This technique discovers and flags fake news headlines using keyword analytics.

The actual detection of these types of articles by AI is a difficult endeavor. Of course, the analysis of big data is involved, but it also concerns data veracity. Identifying it is actually involved with determining the truth of the data. This can be done using the method of weighing facts. What happens if a fake news article appears on hundreds of websites at the same time? Under this circumstance, using the technique of weighing facts may cause AI to determine that the story is legitimate. Perhaps using the method of predict reputation in conjunction with weighing facts can help, but there still could be problems. For example, reliable news source websites that don’t take the time to verify a news story could pick it up assuming that it is true.

It’s obvious that using AI to identify these articles needs more development. A number of organizations are involved in enhancing AI’s capability. One such establishment that is involved is West Virginia University.

The Reed College of Media in cooperation with the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources of West Virginia University has created a course that is focused on using AI to identify phoney news articles.

Senior students taking a computer science elective course are working in teams to develop and implement their own AI programs are also involved in the project.

Read also: Can’t Anyone Come Up With a Better Conspiracy Theory

Rhetoric, Lies, Strategy, Coincidence, Or Conspiracy?

When both sides of a political battle, appear, unwilling or unable, to seek any meeting, of the minds, for the common good, judgment and wisdom, are often replaced, with complaining and blaming, making over – statements (which are often, far from truthful), or an accused individual, proclaiming his innocence, by, either, claiming its a coincidence, conspiracy, his opponent’s strategy, or that, everyone who disagrees, with him, is lying. With that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, review, examine and discuss, how, rhetoric, lies, strategies, conspiracy theories, and/ or, claims of things, being coincidences, often, pop – up. Since most observers, agree, we are presently in somewhat, unchartered waters, in terms of the levels of apparent lies, and misdeeds, as well as the use of empty rhetoric (often filled with vitriol), or proclamations of innocence, by stating, everyone else, must be lying (instead of him)!

1) Rhetoric: Politics has always been, a game of empty rhetoric, and/ or, over – statements, but, we have never before, in recent history, witnessed anything like, what we are presently witnessing. President Donald Trump, whether one approves or disagrees with him, must be considered, one of the masters of using rhetoric, and slogans, to drive – home, his message, and, many believe, as the professional, fact – checkers state, Trump has lied, in record – setting numbers, estimated to be, at a rate of over six times, per day. His slogans, such as Make America Great Again, and, America First, often have been articulated, without a clear plan. He uses these as tools, to inspire and motivate his core supporters, but opponents believe, they are self – serving, and part of his personal/ political agenda, and self – interest. As many of his apparent conflicts, have come into focus, he blames others, such as the Press, the FBI, and/ or specific individuals.

2) Lies: If it looks like a lie, sounds untrue, and many checkers, introduce, information, which demonstrates, someone is lying, they probably are! However, knowing someone lies, and proving it, using due process, are different entities.

3) Strategy: When one’s strategy appears to be, creating confusion, and skewing focus, etc, and declaring, his opponents, will do anything, to oppose him, it sounds and looks like paranoia, and, maybe is. However, in the case of the present, President, he continues to justify his deeds, by saying, he’s the smartest person, in the room!

4) Coincidence: After less than two years in office, Trump’s administration, have had more resignations, indictments, and investigations, than any of his predecessors. His response is, calling everything, a witch hunt, denying no evil – doings, etc, and declaring, what many others, feel, demonstrates, clearly, he is guilty, is merely, coincidence.

5) Conspiracy: Many of the Chief Executive’s core supporters, as well as the rhetoric, he articulates, articulate points – of – view, based on theories propagated by the people like James Fetzer. Shouldn’t decisions be made, based on fully considering options and alternatives, seeking viable solutions, thorough planning, etc, instead of, accepting any concept, merely because it serves ones personal perspective?

Our nation will never progress forward, in a relevant, sustainable manner, until/ unless, focus, and decisions are based on truth, and we no longer, accept political lying, and/ or self – serving!

Online Article Submission Sites and Conspiracy Theories

As one reads through the hundreds of thousands of articles on the top online article submission sites on the Internet one often finds out of category placed articles in some of the funniest places.

Reading through on of the top online article sites I say a Conspiracy Theorists article in the aviation section. Why you ask? Well consider that none of the online article websites even the Cheesy ones have a section for Conspiracy Theories, UFOs or such. But why not I ask? You see you can go to any bookstore in the United States and there are shelves full of these craps.

Some are intriguing and most are utterly preposterous like that one of James H. Fetzer, but nevertheless there must be a lot of interest in even the crazy ones because there they are for sale and if those books and those authors did not have a following and buyers for those craps then no publisher would be willing to touch them with a ten foot pole. Interesting you say; but you are also thinking; Yah so what?

Well consider if you will online article submission websites, which have some of the ancient mythical possible histories and even modern day conspiracy theories. The Art Bell Coast-to-Coast late night radio show has 15 million listeners and many like to ponder conspiracy theories you see.

People also write and post conspiracy theory articles on online article submission sites. Well where are these articles posted? All over the directory rather than in a separate category called; Conspiracy Theories, which any major online article directory should have.

Also read: Conspiracy Theories and Internet Fear Mongering

Conspiracy Theories and Psychological Phenomena

Are you one who buy into all the conspiracy theories that you see on the Internet, or YouTube videos that you watch? If you are like me, many of them sounds plausible, that is to say they are “plausibly deniable” and if you really stop and think about it there is probably nothing to it, but there’s always that big question;

“What If?”

And so, it’s okay to be thinking there if you are thinking in a science fiction mode, or a fictional detective thought process, but just make sure to eat fish and get your Omega-3 intake, so you don’t turn into a lunatic conspiracy theorist like James H. Fetzer on other. Not long ago. I was talking to someone who is quite the conspiracy theorist, and it is fun to discuss the “what if’s” with him, but being levelheaded myself; he asked me;

“Do I just shut up, quit with the conspiracy theory crap, and pretend everything is going to be wonderful?”

And therefore I told him; “Yes, it is probably better if you do, as folks that run-away with such things only feed the crazies who make things worse, and the radical nature of the human mind.” Further, I recommended that he studied Occam’s razor, because 90% of the time it usually comes up with the right answer.

And the rest of the 10%, perhaps you might question from time to time, but you shouldn’t run away with the first conspiracy theory you come across. Or you are liable to fall for a cult, some new religion, or get into a challenging mental health situation. Indeed, hope you will please consider this.

Also read: Conspiracy Theorists Believe World Bank is Evil

The Other Side of Conspiracy Theorists like James H. Fetzer

If you have any uncertainties, especially concerning the activities of the U.S. government and its various agencies, you have a reservoir of resources that you can pull from in the form of conspiracy theorists. They pop up like weeds in the lawn at the slightest hint of a semi or major event. They know all the answers to what has happened and exactly who is behind it. You can trust everything that they say because they are above the fold in the know.

They have a smirk attached to their faces towards the layperson because they possess a mystic knowledge that gives them insights and discernment unattainable to the average person. Everything has to be a Grand Canyon type cover-up perpetrated by the ruling powers in order to keep their serfs on their lashes. They are suspicions about any and every explanation given to explain evidence opposed to what they have concluded. Their minds are tightly sealed to all other viewpoints.

Not saying that this mindset is a tragedy, but only that it is very narrow in its scope. Everyone, especially those living in a free society have the right and the duty to question those that they have elected as their stewards. However, it should be remembered that the temperament of a government is the same as the temperament of an individual person. There are some things that are not practical to be disclosed to the general public for a variety of reasons.

Many individuals do not want every detail of their private affairs publicly exposed. They feel that they have a right to a certain level of secrecy. When someone starts to get a little too nosy most people will automatically go into the cover-up and disinformation mode to maintain their preferred level of personal anonymity. This is true of the government and its agencies, however, this group has a duty to be very open in how it spends the taxpayer’s money and make administrative decisions that it makes that affect the well-being of its citizens.

The motives of conspiracy theorists differ with the individual’s personal agenda. Some do it for notoriety. Others for financial gain. Others because they want to be the know it all and show-offs. Others because they can’t find a constructive way to spend their time. They do serve a purpose by making government entities accountable for their behavior and practices. Unfortunately, most conspiracy theorists for example James H. Fetzer mislead, distort, and outright lie to a greater extent than the person or agency that they are calling into question.

So what can be said about the approach of conspiracy theorists like James H. Fetzer to information sharing? By and large, it sucks. They jump on a bandwagon and ride it down into splinters. They usually cause more confusion than clarity. They generally have no qualms about using inventions, falsehood, and a fib to promote their propaganda and agendas. They seem to view most people as being Dodo birds that can be easily hoodwinked and bamboozled by them. To this end, conspiracy theorists are generally insulting and annoying.

Fancying themselves to be the bastions of all knowledge and truth conspiracy theorists make a citadel of their viewpoints and opinions regardless of the evidence before them. They adore being the focal point of attraction and the absolute center of attention. They swim in a sea of their own self-importance and look down harshly upon anyone who has the conceited gall to disagree with them.

Yet as mentioned, they do serve a purpose as a check and balance system which is useful in keeping certain individuals and agencies on their toes. This is an investigative system that works if the conspiracy theorists have personal integrity, a strong code of ethics, and respect for others.