Category Archives: Propaganda Methods

Did a Congressman really say we do not need satellites because we have the Weather Channel?

The 2017 social media meme:

2017 True Story: A Congressman was at a hearing for a request for funding for GOES satellites. He asked the scientist why do we need to spend money on satellites when you can turn on the weather channel and get the weather!

TL;DR Summary

  • This quote appears in 2000 and 2007 and 2011 and has nothing to do with events in 2017.
  • As we will see, it appears several people who claim to have been told this were either confused or are lying.

2000:

“… we must avoid replicating the error of the US congressman who questioned the need for (publicly funded) weather satellites on the ground that the Weather Channel is available on cable TV.” (page 8, The Nature and Dynamics of Organizational Capabilities).

2007:

“But that is not always the case for politicians and some of the public, as illustrated by the congressman mentioned in the previous chapter who was not interesting in funding a weather satellite when you could already watch the Weather Channel” (page 57, Space as a Strategic Asset, and previous chapter did not mention any congressman.)

2011:

“I had a member of Congress tell me, “I don’t need your weather satellites, I have the Weather Channel.” (quote from Jane Lubchenco, head of NOAA, as quoted in a media interview).

This social media meme sounds plausible at first glance, but the attribution to an anonymous Congressman is our first clue that this most likely a false quote. Oddly, several people each claim to have been told this by a member of Congress, yet clearly, when the track goes back to at least 2000, this implies the author in 2007 and Jane Lubchenko in 2011 were potentially lying.

Social media memes – and fake news – are often crafted by leaving out details necessary to verify the authenticity of the story. Here, by leaving out the name of the Congressman, there is nothing to fact check. Similarly, referencing the GOES satellite systems adds an aura of legitimacy to the statement.

Leaving out critical details is a key aspect of fake news reports, some of which are published by major media outlets. Over a decade ago, one of the nation’s most well recognized newspapers published a story about an “ordinary transport ship” having reached the North Pole without the aid of an ice breaker.

The story gave the ship’s name, which was easily looked up online. I found the complete specification for this “ordinary transport ship” at the Finland-based ship manufacturer.

In the real world, this “ordinary transport ship” had twice the ice breaking capability of the largest ice breaker in the U.S. fleet. Indeed, at that time, about 70 “transport ships” operated by Russia were actually ice breakers re-fitted for dual use as cargo hauling transport ships.

I sent this verified information to the corrections editor of this well known newspaper. I never received an acknowledgement.

What did the newspaper do about this error in the story?

They deleted the name of the ship so that no one else could then fact check their story. Their fake news story – from one of the nation’s best known news papers – lives on to this day, minus the ship name.

By removing a key element needed to verify the authenticity of the story, fake news can live forever, unchallenged.

Everyone plays the fake news game, including famous publishers.

 

 

NY Times reports women’s FB page suspended after quoting the Bible

She apparently responded to a comment on her page by directly quoting the Bible – six months ago. Six months later, Facebook suspended her account for a week.

Source: (NY Times) Facebook accused of ‘liberal bias’ after suspending account of Christian blogger who cited the Bible on homosexuality

Facebook does not usually tell someone the specific reason their account has been suspended – only says the user has violated their community standards.

Did someone post a comment on my web site or Facebook page six months ago that led to the shadow ban on the Occupy Propaganda page? I have no idea. However, that Facebook censors discussion of the impact and methods of propaganda via social media is frightening, and as they say, the optics look awful for Facebook.

Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert, shadow banned by Twitter

Source: Scott Adams’ Blog – Scott Adams says he was shadow banned by Twitter. Apparently the ban has been removed as I can see his Tweets on Twitter at this time.

Shadow banning is a form of propaganda messaging that I  overlooked.

A “shadow ban” is a sneaky way of censoring someone’s voice by hiding their output from everyone else – but still enabling the poster to see his or her own posts. The poster is unaware of the censorship because the censorship itself is hidden from the poster.

In recent days, I learned that my Occupy Propaganda blog has been shadow banned by Facebook since December 15, 2016. For the past two months, I saw my  posts appearing in my own Facebook news line and was unaware that my posts had become invisible to everyone else.

Continue reading

20th Century Fox created many fake news web sites to promote a movie

The sites were designed by an experienced fake news publisher using the traditional, emotionally laden headlines, with false stories designed to be shared on social media. The purpose was to promote a movie –  by design, many people began sharing these fake news stories on social media where they were viewed as real.

Many of the stories were partisan political posts with false allegations. One fake post had been shared 65,000 times on Facebook alone.

A promotion tactic for “A Cure for Wellness,” which set up false news sites that put out articles that were widely shared, fell flat, as did the film’s projected ticket sales.

Source: 20th Century Fox Gives Real Apology for a Fake News Campaign – The New York Times

Even though the web sites have now been shut down, the original posts shared on social media can still be found by searching those web services.

Everyone produces fake news (we used to call them “public relations press releases”) and social media is the megaphone amplifier for any absurdity to be passed on as the truth.