Sunday, February 18, 2018

No You're The Mark

I recommend this twitter thread from Goldy (click through for the rest.)

Along with this in the New Yorker.

The power of news illiteracy. At the heart of the Russian fraud is an essential, embarrassing insight into American life: large numbers of Americans are ill-equipped to assess the credibility of the things they read. The willingness to believe purported news stories, often riddled with typos or coming from unfamiliar outlets, is a liability of today’s fragmented media and polarized politics. Even the trolls themselves were surprised at what Americans would believe. According to the indictment, in September, 2017, once U.S. authorities had begun to crack down on the fraud, one of the defendants, Irina Viktorovna Kaverzina, e-mailed a family member, saying, “We had a slight crisis here at work: the FBI busted our activity (not a joke). So, I got preoccupied with covering tracks together with the colleagues.” She went on, “I created all these pictures and posts, and the Americans believed that it was written by their people.”

And a lot of them have highly paid positions in major media outlets, are members of Congress, or are even president of the United States! Some are even editors of the New Yorker who published the funniest post-9/11 thing I ever read by the guy who now edits The Atlantic!

All this "facebook is sapping our vital essences" and "fake news" stuff ignores the fact that the real fake news is often the "real" news, not some bullshit websites linked to on facebook. The New York Times partnered with Steve Bannon's crew during the election season (I do keep telling you to delete your subscriptions)! I don't mean fake news in the Trump sense of "news I don't like" or even understandable mistakes. I mean the designed to manipulate you bullshit, either directly by the "journalists" themselves or their editors, or because the journalists themselves are also easily manipulable (they know manipulation is part of the game, yet somehow they are impervious!).

To some degree, if "the Russians" were that successful at election manipulation, it just means that our professionals aren't good enough at it. They're doing the same job.