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Misinformation

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NEWS
April 18, 2013 | By Alexandra Le Tellier
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.
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OPINION
January 22, 2014 | By P.W. Singer
A recent Pew poll found that Americans are more afraid of a cyber attack than they are of Iranian nuclear weapons, the rise of China or climate change. Such fears are not only out of proportion to risk; if they take hold, they could threaten the positive gains of the digital age. Certainly there are growing threats in the cyber world, and the stakes are high. But there is also a high level of misinformation and plain old ignorance driving the fear. Despite the Internet now enabling us to run down the answers to almost any question, a number of myths have emerged about online security and what it means for us offline.
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NATIONAL
July 20, 2012 | By Matt Pearce
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 10, 2013 | By Robert Abele
A spirited, empathetic attempt to turn a legacy of educational shame into a call for understanding and action, Harvey Hubbell V's documentary, "Dislecksia: The Movie," has a necessary charge to it, but also a distractingly goofy side. If you only think of dyslexia as the "rearranging letters" condition - like some quirky trait - Hubbell, himself dyslexic, is quick to communicate how debilitating a reading disability can be to a child who isn't progressing at the rate of his or her peers and who isn't given the tools to manage it. "They gave me a diploma," Hubbell says at one point about his own fraught experiences growing up, "but they didn't give me the skills to fill out a job application.
NEWS
March 20, 1995 | LISA RESPERS, TIMES STAFF WRITER
True or false: There are more African American men in prison than in college. If you answered true , you are incorrect but not alone. Author Farai Chideya is betting the average person does not know that in 1991 the number of black men in colleges and universities was almost triple the number of those in prisons--and that trend continues.
BUSINESS
May 24, 1996 | From Associated Press
Consumers who turn to their state insurance regulators for help when shopping for health or automobile insurance may be getting bad information, a survey released Thursday found. A national study by the Center for Insurance Research indicated that state insurance regulators provided correct answers to basic questions about health insurance between 43% and 65% of the time. For auto insurance, questions were answered correctly between 26% and 90% of the time, said the center, a Cambridge, Mass.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 11, 2001 | ERIKA HAYASAKI, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Misinformation and lack of access to health care contribute to elevated diabetes rates among elderly Latinos in Los Angeles County, according to a UCLA study released Tuesday. "A lot of Latinos think that if [they] drink cactus juice, it can prevent diabetes," said Dr. David Hayes-Bautista, director of the UCLA Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture, which conducted the study. "We need to make sure they're doing more."
NEWS
February 12, 2001 | DAVID SHAW
Until relatively recently, most of what the public knew about a new movie before it was released came directly or indirectly from studio advertising and marketing departments. The studios went to great lengths to keep it that way. Today, even before a movie is cast--even before a deal is made--Internet sites circulate copies of hot scripts that studio executives are taking home to read that weekend. Then, as negotiations and production unfold, these sites--http://aint-it-cool-news.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 29, 2001 | PATRICK J. McDONNELL, TIMES STAFF WRITER
By nightfall, the line stretched half a block down Whittier Boulevard, the facial expressions of the assembled betraying expectation and wariness, fatigue and hope. "Who knows?" said Irma Villa, accompanied by her husband and three children. "Maybe we have a chance."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 18, 1992 | JIM NEWTON, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A puzzling hoax is frightening parents from coast to coast, most recently in El Segundo, with fake warnings that their children are being exposed to new and potentially lethal forms of the psychedelic drug LSD. The warnings--once taken seriously by police, drug experts and doctors--are being emphatically dismissed as a cruel joke. Yet, the rumors defy official attempts to squelch them, and as recently as this month the flyers turned up at St.
BUSINESS
September 17, 2013 | Michael Hiltzik
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.
NEWS
April 18, 2013 | By Alexandra Le Tellier
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.
OPINION
April 18, 2013 | Meghan Daum
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 | Steve Lopez
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.
OPINION
July 31, 2012 | Jonah Goldberg
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.
NATIONAL
July 20, 2012 | By Matt Pearce
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.
NEWS
December 23, 1991 | JOHN-THOR DAHLBURG, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A Ukrainian parliamentary commission, concluding a sweeping probe of the Chernobyl disaster, has accused Communist leaders at the time, including Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev, of a massive criminal cover-up that led to thousands of deaths. Faced with the worst accident in the history of nuclear power, Soviet authorities in April, 1986, reacted with "a total lie, falsehoods, cover-up and concealment," the commission chairman, Volodymyr Yavorivsky, said.
NEWS
December 3, 1993 | KAREN TUMULTY, TIMES STAFF WRITER
House Republicans complained to President Clinton on Thursday that "political operatives" of the Democratic National Committee were planning to disrupt dozens of GOP-sponsored health care forums scheduled for Saturday. Rep. Dick Armey (R-Tex.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 18, 2012 | By James Rainey, Los Angeles Times
As Republicans wage a sharply divisive presidential nominating contest, HBO is preparing to release a television film on the 2008 ascent of then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin that seems sure to reopen the wounds of that lost campaign and reignite controversy over Palin's fitness for office and the wisdom of putting her on the ticket. "Game Change," based on the 2010 book of the same name by two journalists, is not due to premiere on the pay-cable channel until March 10, but already on Friday Palin's supporters were hitting back at its depiction of her as woefully unprepared to be a national candidate or be a heartbeat away from the presidency.
BUSINESS
January 17, 2012 | By James Rainey, Los Angeles Times
Most people probably haven't paid much attention to the huge corporations waging war in Washington over legislation designed to crack down on online theft of movies, music and other content. But the conflict will hit consumers in the face Wednesday, when Wikipedia and a number of other websites intend to go dark to protest the proposed changes. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announced Monday that the hugely popular online encyclopedia would be unavailable for 24 hours to protest the Stop Online Piracy Act and related legislation, which opponents say could lead to censorship or the complete shutdown of some websites.
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