September 17, 2013 |
As every legislative craftsman knows, the trick in giving your bill a name is, first, come up with a title that yields a catchy acronym. Second, make sure the title doesn't explain what the bill does. Hence, the Inform Act. The name certainly is alluring. It sounds like a measure to make government more transparent to its citizens, which is exactly what its promoters say it is. But it may be more accurate to think of it as the Misinform or even Disinform Act. You may be hearing a lot about the Inform Act in a few weeks.
April 18, 2013 |
The Boston Marathon bombing on Monday provoked some lamentable knee-jerk reactions and unverified claims that were spread far and wide by the media -- in traditional news outlets and social media alike. (I'd link to some of the worst offenders, but I fear that would only perpetuate the problem.) We saw similar forms of chaos unravel around the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings and the Tucson rampage -- the latter when the tea party was senselessly blamed for the attack before we even knew what had really happened.
April 18, 2013 |
As social media sites have pelted out news of the Boston bombing, playing fast and loose with the numbers of the dead and injured and amplifying hearsay into a cacophony of confusion, one tweet seemed to say it all: "Dear Journalism: Get yourself together and report verified facts or don't report anything at all. " It was retweeted 34 times, a fraction of the number claiming that a U.S. bomb had "just" killed 30 people at a wedding in Afghanistan....
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 23, 2013 |
If you're like me, your mailbox is getting stuffed with political mailers. What to do? The best course of action is to take a shovel and dig a hole in the backyard, toss the mailers in and set them ablaze. At best, they're filled with useless simplifications and generalizations about candidates and issues, and a lot of them contain gross exaggerations or distortions, if not outright lies. If you live in Los Angeles and it seems like you're getting more of this junk than ever, it's because millions of dollars are being spent by committees to either support or demolish candidates for City Council, mayor and school board.
July 31, 2012 |
What drives Barack Obama's "haters and doubters"? So asks Obama biographer David Maraniss in a recent op-ed article for the Washington Post. By haters and doubters he means the people who think Obama wasn't born in the U.S., that he's a secret Muslim or that he's a closet socialist. He has an answer. "Some of it can be attributed to the give-and-take of today's harsh ideological divide. Some of it can be explained by the way misinformation spreads virally to millions of like-minded people, reinforcing preconceptions.
July 20, 2012 |
Big news is usually bad news. And a big problem with big stories is that misinformation can move faster than the facts, like lightning before thunder, and make bad news worse. Here's the text from an image that churned its way through the social media sphere in the early hours after the Aurora, Colo., theater shootings on Friday. TOMORROW I WILL KILL EVERYONE DURING THE NEW BATMAN PREMIERE IN COLORADO PEOPLE WILL DIE FOR THE GLORY OF LE 9GAG ARMY !!! PHOTOS: 'Dark Knight Rises' shooting At least 12 people were killed and dozens wounded during the showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," and such a text suggested a rampaging shooter's manifesto.