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Facebook, fake news and Donald Trump’s election

Written By: - Date published: 9:33 am, December 26th, 2016 - 72 comments
Categories: International, making shit up, Media, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, us politics, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: ,

In a year of many political surprises the election of the Donald must rank at the top of the unexpected list.

How did he do it?  How after a string of embarrassing revelations, little funding and after most of the senior Republican party including living Republican Presidents stating they would not support him did he get over the line?

One theory is that it had a lot to do with his Facebook campaigning.  He may have been pilloried in the press, had no on the ground campaign, and lost the popular vote but the result points to either incredible good luck or impressive and effective targeted campaigning using that medium.

Facebook is an interesting campaign tool.  I used it quite a bit for local campaigning this year.  The problems with general political posts are self evident, it becomes clear that there are bubbles of mostly similar thinking friends and acquaintances liking your profound thoughts but there is little initial cut through to other groups of people.  The posts that worked best were those on local issues that received attention on community pages.  And all news is treated of equal quality.  The more extreme and newsworthy the more clicks.

Facebook also has a sophisticated way of driving impressions to selected users, and potential permutations include age, geography, links to friends and interests.  With a degree of surgical precision paid advertising can be delivered to all sorts of different groups and individuals.

Trump clearly had a two pronged approach.  One prong was aimed at depressing turnout of Clinton supporters.  From a post by Joel Winston:

“We have three major voter suppression operations under way,” a senior Trump official explained to reporters from BusinessWeek. They’re aimed at three groups Clinton needs to win overwhelmingly: idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans.”

The goal was to depress Hillary Clinton’s vote total. “We know because we’ve modeled this,” the senior Trump official said. “It will dramatically affect her ability to turn these people out.”

For example, Trump’s digital team created a South Park-style animation of Hillary Clinton delivering the “super predator” line (using audio from her original 1996 sound bite), as cartoon text popped up around her: “Hillary Thinks African Americans are Super Predators.” Then, Trump’s animated “super predator” political advertisement was delivered to certain African American voters via Facebook “dark posts” — nonpublic paid posts shown only to the Facebook users that Trump chose.

And this aspect of the campaign worked.  Turnout for Clinton was demonstrably lower than the turnout for Obama.

On Election Day, Democratic turnout in battleground was surprisingly weak, especially among sporadic and first-time voters. David Plouffe, manager of President Obama’s 2008 campaign, noted that, “in Detroit, Mrs. Clinton received roughly 70,000 votes fewer than Mr. Obama did in 2012; she lost Michigan by just 12,000 votes. In Milwaukee County in Wisconsin, she received roughly 40,000 votes fewer than Mr. Obama did, and she lost the state by just 27,000. In Cuyahoga County, Ohio, turnout in majority African-American precincts was down 11 percent from four years ago.”

Trump’s presidential election victory is the most successful digital voter suppression operation in American history. The secret weapons in Trump’s digital arsenal were Project Alamo, his database of 220 million people in the United States, and the Facebook Advertising Platform. By leveraging Facebook’s sophisticated advertising tools, including Facebook Dark Posts, Facebook Audience-Targeting, and Facebook Custom Audiences from Customer Lists, the Trump campaign was able to secretly target Hillary Clinton’s supporters and covertly discourage them from going to the polls to vote.

Trump also used Facebook to expand the list of supporters and raise money as well as support.  Again from Winston:

To start, [head of of Trump’s digital operation Brad] Parscale uploaded the names, email addresses, and phone numbers of known Trump supporters into the Facebook advertising platform. Next, Parscale used Facebook’s “Custom Audiences from Customer Lists” to match these real people with their virtual Facebook profiles. With Facebook’s “Audience Targeting Options” feature, ads can be targeted to people based on their Facebook activity, ethic affinity, or “location and demographics like age, gender and interests. You can even target your ad to people based on what they do off of Facebook.”

Parscale then expanded Trump’s pool of targeted Facebook users using “Lookalike Audiences”, a powerful data tool that automatically found other people on Facebook with “common qualities” that “look like” known Trump supporters. Finally, Parscale used Facebook’s “Brand Lift” survey capabilities to measure the success of the ads.

And to increase further the level of unease Team Trump created a database with the unusual name of Project Alamo which contains up to 4 to 5,000 data points on 220 million Americans and let them target the different audiences with precision.  From Joshua Green at Bloomberg:

Although his operation lags previous campaigns in many areas (its ground game, television ad buys, money raised from large donors), it’s excelled at one thing: building an audience. Powered by Project Alamo and data supplied by the RNC and Cambridge Analytica, his team is spending $70 million a month, much of it to cultivate a universe of millions of fervent Trump supporters, many of them reached through Facebook. By Election Day, the campaign expects to have captured 12 million to 14 million e-mail addresses and contact information (including credit card numbers) for 2.5 million small-dollar donors, who together will have ponied up almost $275 million. “I wouldn’t have come aboard, even for Trump, if I hadn’t known they were building this massive Facebook and data engine,” says Bannon. “Facebook is what propelled Breitbart to a massive audience. We know its power.”

Since Trump paid to build this audience with his own campaign funds, he alone will own it after Nov. 8 and can deploy it to whatever purpose he chooses. He can sell access to other campaigns or use it as the basis for a 2020 presidential run. It could become the audience for a Trump TV network. As Bannon puts it: “Trump is an entrepreneur.”

A great deal has been written about the use of fake news particularly on Facebook feeds and the effect this had on perceptions of the candidates.  Unbelievable stories such as the Pope had endorsed Trump, or Hillary Clinton had a romantic relationship with Yoko Ono in the 1970s found their way onto people’s feeds.  But there may have been a simple explanation for the proliferation of these stories and the associated websites unconnected to Trump’s political ambitions and caused purely by human greed and its motivation on a bunch of teenagers in a small village in Macedonia.  From Jonathan Vankin on Buzzfeed:

… the [fake news] sites in Macedonia are run mostly by teenagers looking to turn a quick buck. While U.S. publishers struggle to build revenue streams from Facebook shares and search engine clicks, the small amounts of money paid by those sources can be substantial in a struggling economy such as Macedonia’s.

The Macedonian teens interviewed by BuzzFeed earlier experimented with fake or often plagiarized stories about Bernie Sanders, but found that even Sanders with his devoted cult following did not generate the same level of traffic as Trump.

“People in America prefer to read news about Trump,” the 16-year-old proprietor of pro-Trump site BVANews.com told BuzzFeed.

While not all stories even on the Macedonian sites are flatly false, BuzzFeed found that false stories on average generated significantly more internet “clicks” than accurate news stories. A false story claiming that Clinton in 2013 had described Trump as “honest and can’t be bought” generated 480,000 Facebook shares, comments and reactions in one week — compared to the New York Times bombshell revealing that Trump had likely paid no income tax since 1995, which produced 175,000 Facebook engagements.

And how and why did it work? Paul Horner a fake news veteran gave this very clear description of the current state of affairs.  From the Washington Post:

Honestly, people are definitely dumber. They just keep passing stuff around. Nobody fact-checks anything anymore — I mean, that’s how Trump got elected. He just said whatever he wanted, and people believed everything, and when the things he said turned out not to be true, people didn’t care because they’d already accepted it. It’s real scary. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Issy Lapowski in Wired concludes:

Whether fake news did or didn’t affect the election’s outcome, Facebook as a platform did. The winning candidate was not just willing, but eager to break with traditional models of campaigning. His team invested in new ways of using the digital tools and platforms that have come to dominate the media landscape. Anyone who wants to defeat him in the future will have to do the same.

Trump may have been heavily outspent by Clinton in terms of mainstream media.  But clearly he made his spend count.  And by judicious use of existing bubbles, whether it was to suppress enthusiasm among likely Democrat supporters or to peddle fake stories amongst those willing to believe his tactics worked.

The world’s democracies may never be the same …

72 comments on “Facebook, fake news and Donald Trump’s election ”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    “We have three major voter suppression operations under way,” a senior Trump official explained to reporters from BusinessWeek. They’re aimed at three groups Clinton needs to win overwhelmingly: idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans.”

    And thus we have another reason for compulsory voting. Probably a very important reason as well as it would remove negative influencing from the political campaigns repertoire.

  2. garibaldi 2

    It is well past time the Left came to terms with the fact that Hillary was a discredited ,untrustworthy and unsuitable candidate. Deeply unpopular with a poor track record, and yet the “machine” decided she was to be their candidate. The Party set about destroying Bernie on her way to the top spot and they believed their own bullshit about her invincibility. They ran a shocking campaign from their “bubble” in New York and still can’t get over their stupidity and incompetence in being so out of touch with Americans. Blaming Russia is just another sign of their inability to take stock of all their mistakes.

    • Paul 2.1

      Are we being set up by this ‘fake news’ news?
      So we accept new laws like this….

      Obama Quietly Signs The “Countering Disinformation And Propaganda Act” Into Law
      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-12-24/obama-signs-countering-disinformation-and-propaganda-act-law

      • Andre 2.1.1

        That looked interesting when AsleepWhileWalking posted it over in Open Mike, so I went looking for more information. While it seems to be all over the kook and crank websites that live by gathering clicks from the gullible, there’s a definite lack of sober fact-checking analysis raising concerns about the legislation.

        So for now, it looks to me like it probably belongs in the “fake news” basket.

        • Paul 2.1.1.1

          We should be aware we are often played.

        • One Two 2.1.1.2

          there’s a definite lack of sober fact-checking analysis raising concerns about the legislation

          ‘Saddam has WMD’s’

          Fact checking and the MSM!

          ‘Legal Propaganda’

          The Patriot Act
          NDAA

        • instauration 2.1.1.3

          Andre – yes US legislation is renowned for “hidden” snippets.
          Try this – in the Bill implicated and linkedby Zerohedge;

          (Sec. 1259C) Establishes a Global Engagement Center to lead and coordinate efforts to track foreign propaganda and disinformation efforts intended to undermine U.S. national security interests, and to develop strategies for countering such campaigns. Authorizes the center to provide grants to support civil society groups, journalists, nongovernmental organizations, federally-funded research and development centers, private companies, or academic institutions in analyzing, reporting on, and refuting foreign disinformation efforts.

          From;
          https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/4909

          Pretty much what ZH asserted in their headline and only took a few clicks to find.

        • instauration 2.1.1.4

          Andre – yes US legislation is renowned for “hidden” snippets.
          Try this – in the Bill implicated and linked by Zerohedge;

          (Sec. 1259C) Establishes a Global Engagement Center to lead and coordinate efforts to track foreign propaganda and disinformation efforts intended to undermine U.S. national security interests, and to develop strategies for countering such campaigns. Authorizes the center to provide grants to support civil society groups, journalists, nongovernmental organizations, federally-funded research and development centers, private companies, or academic institutions in analyzing, reporting on, and refuting foreign disinformation efforts.

          From;
          https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/4909

          Pretty much what ZH asserted in their headline and only took a few clicks to find.

          • instauration 2.1.1.4.1

            Sorry for duplicate – had a typo in my email address originally – thought moderators were slow – so reposted – but my bad – and – please – may life be cool – for all.

        • instauration 2.1.1.5

          Andre – yes US legislation is renowned for “hidden” snippets.
          Try this – in the Bill implicated and linked by Zerohedge;

          (Sec. 1259C) Establishes a Global Engagement Center to lead and coordinate efforts to track foreign propaganda and disinformation efforts intended to undermine U.S. national security interests, and to develop strategies for countering such campaigns. Authorizes the center to provide grants to support civil society groups, journalists, nongovernmental organizations, federally-funded research and development centers, private companies, or academic institutions in analyzing, reporting on, and refuting foreign disinformation efforts.

          From;
          https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/4909

          Pretty much what ZH asserted in their headline and only took a few clicks to find.

      • The Chairman 2.1.2

        “Are we being set up by this ‘fake news’ news?
        So we accept new laws like this….”

        Problem reaction solution.
        http://ethics.wikia.com/wiki/Problem_Reaction_Solution

        “Just like that, the US Ministry of Truth is officially born.”

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.3

        Fake news does need to be dealt to but the US seems to have gone about it the wrong way.

        To do it the right way is simply to require sources for what’s said so as to enable fact checking. If the source fails to provide credible evidence then they get a massive fine and shut down as well as the propagation sites after that.

        • The Chairman 2.1.3.1

          “Fake news does need to be dealt to but the US seems to have gone about it the wrong way.”

          Unintentionally, perhaps.

          Alternatively, they seized the opportunity the problem presented to push through a preconceived agenda.

          In some cases sources require to remain anonymous. To ensure sources are encouraged, journalists have to protect their sources.

          Forcing journalists to reveal them, jeopardizes their sources. Which could result in harming their career or perhaps even putting their lives at risk.

          Moreover, it would discourage the willingness of future potential sources to come forward, potentially robbing us of info that requires to be publicly aired.

          • Draco T Bastard 2.1.3.1.1

            Moreover, it would discourage the willingness of future potential sources to come forward, potentially robbing us of info that requires to be publicly aired.

            You mean like the way that Manning and Snowden are being persecuted by the US government ATM for showing the the US government was, essentially, psychopathic?

            And that’s despite the fact that the US does have such protections of journalist sources.

            Such protections would have to stay in place. In fact, I don’t think the ones we have are good enough as the government attack on Nicky Hager shows. What Hager showed should have resulted in criminal charges against the National Party and not Hager or his source.

            But we need to be careful with those protections so that they don’t become a carte blanche protection for people spreading lies.

            • The Chairman 2.1.3.1.1.1

              Manning and Snowden were not anonymous sources. But they have been persecuted.

              What took place with Hager was an example of how state authorities can overstep the line.

              • Draco T Bastard

                I’m pretty sure that Manning was an anonymous source until investigations figured out she was the one who supplied the information to Wikileaks.

                In other words, the legal protections of journalists sources doesn’t actually protect them – it protects the journalists. The government can still go after the source.

                • The Chairman

                  My mistake, apparently Manning was dobbed in.

                  But yes, we need to protect sources.

                  But how does one protect sources and provide safeguards ensuring countering propaganda isn’t used to silence dissenting opinion?

    • dukeofurl 2.2

      gee more fake news about Bernie. The’party’ didnt destroy him, it was the millions more voters in the primaries that did.
      get over it.

      Its Clinton who must feel hard done by twice , she wins nearly 3 mill more votes but still still loses to Trump, and in 2008 she wins more primary votes than Obama, and still loses.

      • Siobhan 2.2.1

        If you really want to talk about fake news and Bernie how about this piece in the Observer

        http://observer.com/2016/11/bernie-sanders-presidential-run-was-sabotaged-by-fake-news/

        “Democrats would be insane to nominate Bernie Sanders,” “Bernie Sanders’s fiction-filled campaign,“ Bernie Bros Made Me Finally Recognize Misogyny in America,” “The Bernie Bros are out in full force harassing female reporters,” “Bernie Sanders’s real problem with black and Hispanic voters,” “Hillary Clinton Made History, but Bernie Sanders Stubbornly Ignored It” and “Stop sending around this photo of ‘Bernie Sanders’ “ were just some of the popular fake news headlines published during the Democratic primaries. ” (the actual links are provided in the article)

        The DNC played dirty, and they lost the chance to run a real candidate for the Democrats and the American People.

  3. Trump the new face for success lol and eventually he will become synonymous with all that is bad, decayed and corrupt in the system he gamed to win.

    He’ll make people fondly remember Clinton.

  4. Carolyn_nth 4

    Note that in the sources quoted in the post above, black and women voters were targeted for voter suppression.

    Related to the quotes in the post, is this article on Salon by Sean McElwee.

    The article cites research that shows the significant factors that gained support for Trump, were racism and sexism. Though McElwee discounts education and economic anxieties as the reason for people voting Trump, they also do appear to be lesser, but significant related factors.

    The main you gov survey cited used a fairly small sample. However, other research cited also comes to the same conclusion.

    McElwee argues that calling out racism by Trump didn’t work, as his supporters, especially among Republicans, just use that as confirmation that whites are being hard done by.

    He argues that the best way to combat this racism is:

    In their paper, which was written for the AFL-CIO, they argue: “To enlist many whites in the battle against racism requires demonstrating to whites that by voting according to dog whistle appeals, they’re wrecking their own lives — their work conditions and wages, their pensions, their health care, the education and future of their children.” Creating spaces for people to understand their common goals is incredibly valuable and not unprecedented historically.

    In a study of implicit racial appeals, political scientists Matthew Tokeshi and Tali Mendelberg find that the most effective method to defeat a racist appeal is to engage with and rebut the attack, and then explain how it is used to divide and distract. The authors find that ignoring the racial appeals is the least effective approach and the distraction method (e.g., focusing exclusively on the opposing candidate’s poor record on the economy) is also ineffective.

    However, McElwee also refers to evidence that shows combating racism this way will be a long hard battle:

    These efforts required long-term work, not a single conversation or a well-cut ad. Fighting racism is a hell of a lot harder than using it to win elections.

  5. adam 5

    “Fake news”

    h.r.c won the popular vote, so she won!

    It’s all Bernie’s fault.

    “Real News”

    h.r.c is a loser and she was always going to lose, she almost lost to a no name, from no where, with no money, what his name again, Sanders or somthing.

    h.r.c ran a bloody awful campaign, and was the establishments spiv.

    • Carolyn_nth 5.1

      Yet, Clinton still won the popular vote. The ways Clinton has been discredited, doesn’t explain how Trump won – a guy with even less credibility than Clinton. Trump has been discredited as a businessman, a human being, and a politician.

      Clinton ran a better campaign in conventional terms than Trump. But the post explains how Trump used alternative media to get him enough electoral college votes.

      • adam 5.1.1

        So you make your own false narrative rather than face facts. Or in this case ‘fake news’.

        h.r.c and the democratic party went into the election KNOWING it had to win the electoral college vote, the popular vote means nothing.

        h.r.c lost, she lost because she ran a bad campaign, she lost because she was establishment, she lost because she is a loser along with the rest of the democratic establishment.

        And worst of all, she lost and her supporters can’t face the fact she is a loser. Plus add in no admission of fault, an outstandingly retarded approach to politics, no wonder the republicans wiped the floor of them.

        It’s a whole new level of ignoring reality by many social democrat’s. Wake up, you lot dropped the ball. You would not listen to criticism of h.r.c from the left, and now trump won. Don’t blame fake news, don’t blame the Russians, blame h.r.c and the democratic party establishment – they are the people who lost.

    • Adrian Thornton 5.2

      @adam +1

  6. One Two 6

    The continual referencing of the ‘fake news narrative’ serves only to propagate and ensure the agenda of those pushing the narrative, can implement the ‘next steps’

    Facebook, google et al are performing a role they were designed for!

    The so called Arab Spring was tracked using tools controlled by the ‘spy agencies’

    Perhaps it’s time for folks to open their eyes to the ‘bigger picture’ because being picked off as dupes parroting the ‘spoon fed talking points’ is a major part of the problem

    Articles like this are lightweight in thought and shallow in rationale

    BTW – How many core ‘news’ distribution points are there globally, and how many companies control all US media?

    More root cause analysis and less symptom tracking is required!

    • Mrs Brillo 6.1

      Write us a better article, then, OT.
      If you are able.

      • One Two 6.1.1

        It’s not about writing a better article….

        It’s about the need for individuals to focus on non superficial issues which are provided to them to repeat ad nauseum

        It’s about researching the depths of the human psyche and understanding there are centuries of planning gone into the singular focus of ‘deceipt’

        The majority continue to fall for the bait, trapped into a narrow passage of ‘ideas’, none of which are their own

        By way of illustrating the traps this articles auther appears to be caught up in, The Washington post is used to qoute ‘fake news veteran’ Paul Horner.

        “Honestly, people are definately dumber. …”

        Yes they are!

        Time to examine the root causes of WHY!

        • mickysavage 6.1.1.1

          The WaPo reference was to an interview with one of the major alt news creators. All of the others were referenced in a number of different news sources, some main stream some alternative. Are you saying that we cannot rely on any of them?

          • One Two 6.1.1.1.1

            Why “rely on any of them” ?

            • mickysavage 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Because otherwise you will have no chance of knowing what is happening in the world. Sure be critical of the sources but by reading widely enough and relying on middle of the road and left wing sources you can get at least a general appreciation.

              • One Two

                Perhaps I took use of the word ‘rely’, too literally

                The approach you outline is a sensible one, if seeking to gain understanding of world events. It does come with limitations and some hooks

                Central distribution
                Disinformation
                Controlled Opposition
                Congative dissonance
                Perception bias
                Personal predjudice
                Etc

                Living in an age where digital technology enables unprecedented capability to deceive and distort, the onus is very much on the interpretation of the receiver

                Should the receiver have any ‘barrier’ which censors certain information sets, the approach becomes flawed as any other

                Quintessentially it is an impossible task for a human being to master, thus perpetuating falsehoods and perhaps making decisions on flawed information can have greater impact than could be comfortable to acknowledge. School curriculums would.be a good (bad) example of the ‘human condition’ and the propagation of falsehoods

    • Paul 6.2

      How many core ‘news’ distribution companies are there globally, and how many companies control all US media?
      6, I believe

      These 6 Corporations Control 90% Of The Media In America

      The issue is superbly covered in this film.

  7. Adrian Thornton 7

    Is this is a joke? isn’t it plainly obvious that this whole “fake news” narrative is just the MSM structure spinning yet more bullshit in the vain hope that nobody notices that they, before our very eyes, over the past 12 months, have became all but redundant as a propaganda tool for their billionaire owners and the relentless economic war on the citizens of their countries.

    Four huge battles took place this year, Brexit, Corbyn, Hillary/Sanders and Hillary/Trump.

    They won one and lost four.

    The full weight and perceived power of pretty much all MSM lost three major battles right out in the open, surely that is the biggest news story of the year?
    In recent memory I cannot remember another time when all MSM unhooked itself from any semblance of impartiality at all, and completely came down on one side so overtly, it was like watching MSM on a crazed P bender, totally unhinged and on a inevitably downward self destructive spiral.
    Probably during wartime, and maybe during some general strikes we might have seen this sort of thing before, but in peace time, never.

    Sure there is fake news, there has always been fake news, there will always be fake news…but fake news sure as shit wasn’t the news in 2016.

    • Paul 7.1

      Spot on.

    • mickysavage 7.2

      Address the specifics of the post. Which particular allegation is not correct. Just saying “its not true” is lazy.

      • adam 7.2.1

        The essence of your post is trump ran a better campaign. And yeah he did, he won.

        He played the system, and so what, we get played with everyday.

        Don’t you think it better to accept that h.r.c lost?

        The only thing this really highlights is that money in politics is evil no matter in whose hands it is, and the fact that the MSM is owned by so few people is a nightmare, if for no other reason because people no longer trust the MSM.

        No false flags and spin are going to get over the fact money in politics has killed any chance of working class people actually being listened to.

        Plus what did trump do any differently than Berlusconi? The main difference I can see is that Berlusconi owned the papers in which he ran his B.S. trump used the net.

        • mickysavage 7.2.1.1

          The essence of your post is trump ran a better campaign. And yeah he did, he won.

          He played the system, and so what, we get played with everyday.

          Don’t you think it better to accept that h.r.c lost?

          Sure she was an awful candidate and I would have voted for Sanders in the primaries.

          My post is all about the tactics and the methods.

          I believe they are underhand. The left either decides to use the same tactics or it works out how it is going to counter these tactics. Either way a study of the election and what Trump did is important.

          • Adrian Thornton 7.2.1.1.1

            @ mickysavage
            “The left either decides to use the same tactics or it works out how it is going to counter these tactics”
            What an incredible statement, I assume by your posts that you are closely tied to the Labour party, and involved in their campaigns?

            Yet you seemed to not have noticed that during the past year, two self proclaimed socialists have invigorated and mobilized their citizens in a way not seen on the (real) Left for a long long time, with NO MSM support, in fact, actively attacked by establishment liberal news outlets like The Guardian and The Washington Post etc, both actively undermined by their own party establishment, yet both now still standing, while all their detractors have all crashed and burned into a fiery messy heap.
            Both campaigns where run on the same simple strategies, a very simple message of fairness, equality for all citizens delivered by a candidate with unquestioned integrity and honesty and spoken from that traditional Left moral high ground, which is very difficult position for your opposition to attack.

            Because this simple message resonates so easily, both candidates had no problem in getting thousands of willing citizens to campaign and work for them, no negative politics here, just good old socialism. delivered to a modern public at the right time…which is now.

            But this winning position can only be taken on the Left when the cancerous neo liberial element is cut completely from the host.
            Which is why NZ labour still struggles, and always will while it is captured by a free market laissez-faire economic ideology.

          • adam 7.2.1.1.2

            But it’s not new, well OK the way it was done was new, but at a tactics level it is nothing new. It has been around for a while. Reagan used it, and as I said, Berlusconi was a master at it. Indeed, I believe the trump team based much of his campaign on Berlusconi.

            A good example of Reagan using it was his famous, “Welfare Queen” a complete and utter fabrication. There are more examples – look up Reagan lies.

            The point is one which Peter Fraser knew in spades. The establishment will lie about you, those with power will lie about you, they care for nothing but power and money, so they will lie about you. So the only weapon you have is truth and your morals.

            Take the moral high ground, and call them on their lies. That takes backbone, and no sniping from your side. Which means the NZ labour party at present is a bit stuck, it has neo-liberalism in the tent. Because both you and I know at it’s core, neo-liberalism has no morals, (or at best, very shallow ones) so how can you take a strong moral position? Look at the UK labour party – so many of their MP’s have just proven how utterly lacking in a moral compass they have. And as I’ve got worked up about, the DNC is another organisation full of people who lack morals, and basic human decency.

            Look I’m going to say it out loud, a purge, it’s long over due. The left has been purged from labour a few times over the years, it is not beyond time that that the neo-liberal vagarious wing from the party got the same treatment?

            Another tactic, get money out of politics. Force utter and open transparency, of where the money is coming from.

      • Adrian Thornton 7.2.2

        You know it is hard to know where to start…

        But how about this…
        Firstly you are actually quoting stories from the Washington Post, who got rightfully vilified in March when they ran 16 negative stories on Sanders in one 24 hour cycle.
        http://usuncut.com/politics/washington-post-bias-against-bernie-sanders/
        and then went on to openly endorse Hillary…
        https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/hillary-clinton-for-president/2016/10/12/665f9698-8caf-11e6-bf8a-3d26847eeed4_story.html?utm_term=.8647459b6fa5

        Your other source is from Bloomberg News, owned by Micheal Bloomberg who endorsed Clinton also..
        https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-07-24/michael-bloomberg-to-endorse-hillary-clinton-in-speech-this-week

        So anything they now say on this topic is now suspect don’t you think?
        Which is exactly my point, nearly all MSM (including your sources) shed all pretenses to journalistic and editorial impartiality in endorsing and then pretty much campaigning for Clinton, so you can’t now use them to prove your point that there was some conspiracy of fake news, even if it is true, you should know that you can’t have it both ways.

        I could unpack more of your piece, but this will do for now.

        • mickysavage 7.2.2.1

          If the WaPo reported that it was raining yesterday would you refuse to accept this?

          And is everyone who endorsed Clinton completely untrustworthy? I have my own reservations about her but you know at least I can trust most of what she said. Whereas I would double check if Trump said today was Tuesday.

          And address the specifics. Which part of my post is inaccurate or wrong and what are your sources?

          • Adrian Thornton 7.2.2.1.1

            I don’t think you are getting the gist of my position.
            If it rained yesterday, I am sure that is a fact we can all agree on, I think you need to try a little harder than that.
            However if the Washington Post come out with some story as to why their openly endorsed political candidate suffered probably one of the most humiliating defeats in US political history, there by themselves sharing in that public humiliation, then how do I or for that matter you, have any idea that their story has any credibility?

            My problems with your story IS your sources, how can you trust them, or expect us readers to trust them? surely you must see the obvious conflict of interests in use media sources that have a stated political agenda…that is my position, and one probably shared by most critical thinkers who read your post..well one would hope.

            • mickysavage 7.2.2.1.1.1

              Why should I disbelieve everything that the MSM prints? My post is an attempt to explain what happened and how Trump won even though he lost the popular vote. The use of targeted Facebook advertising explains this. Please point out specifically which particular point I have discussed is wrong. Saying it is all wrong because the MSM printed it is not a fruitful discussion.

              • Karen

                Thanks for the post Mickey. Unfortunately some of the reactions to it here show how easy it was for Trump. Worrying for democracy worldwide.

                • Yep + 1 . Good post ms and some interesting reactions which show how deep the left are going to have to dig. I don’t agree that the left should copy the right in these tactics.

              • Adrian Thornton

                @mickysavage, I have never said you should disbelieve everything MSM prints, I said (or implied) you should not use information sources for your posts from sources about a subject, where that source has openly admitted they have a bias, without some sort of disclosure or preface that that source is biased (by it’s own admission).

                I will say it again, if you use and reference openly biased news sources in your posts, how can you or your readers be sure that the articles you are quoting from are not biased as well?

                This is my point, and without you addressing this singular question, we cannot proceed further to have a meaningful discussion on the content of your post, and quite frankly I don’t see how anyone else could.

              • Adrian Thornton

                @mickysavage
                Here is quite a good interview re; fake news with Jeff Cohen….

  8. Olwyn 8

    This to article to me offers a fitting response to these matters: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/12/post-truth-fake-news-trump-clinton-election-russia/

    The fact that Trump won the election with less money and the entire political-media establishment pitted against him is far more telling than the method his team used to do it. No method works when people are not interested in what you have to say, and almost any method works when they are. Nationalism appeals to a lot of people who have been shafted by the current system because they think they must at least count for something as members of their nation, which has more appeal than being pitied or vilified as globalism’s outcasts. Establishment liberalism has failed as a stand-in for democratic socialism, and that is where any serious soul-searching should be focused.

    • Adrian Thornton 8.1

      That is exactly right, with no traditional Left wing alternative to this now plainly defunct and discredited free market laissez faire nightmare that is still being peddled by Labour/National in NZ, you end up with nationalism, hence Trump.

      This is exactly why I view the neo liberal terrorists burrowed deep into the soft flank of the Labour Party here in NZ, and the western Left generally, to be the greater enemy to the progressive future of our country and the world itself, than the Right.
      Having no credible Left safety valve for people to turn to, is turning out to be an incredibly dangerous political reality.

      I will make one point that you left out re; Trump, he got an incredible amount of oxygen resulting in some serious traction that really enabled him to propel himself right over his Republican rivals, absolutely free from the MSM, until at the 11th hour when they realized that he was an actual real threat, and then turned on him like a bunch of rabid dogs (which they should have done in the beginning, when he started dog whistling like the madman he is).

      locally it was just bizarre to listen to RNZ get on it’s high horse about the amount of coverage Trump was getting and tut tutting, then in almost the same breath, without the slightest hint of embarrassment, give us another salacious Trump story.

      • Olwyn 8.1.1

        Yes you are right. Trump was pumped up by the media for as long as they assumed he would be the joke candidate, but turned on with a vengeance once he started to look like a serious threat. And at both ends of this spectrum he was assessed in like-dislike terms, rather than on the positions he espoused.

    • Carolyn_nth 8.2

      Yet, there’s research pointing to factors that gave Trump an electoral victory: the use of facebook, the focus on racism and sexism, strategic targeting of specific states, etc.

      “Fake news” is a subjective category and means different things to different people, and is thus a side issue..

  9. Sanctuary 9

    Richard Seymour at Lenin’s tomb sums up how the corporate media connived to make post truth politics happen….

    http://www.leninology.co.uk/2016/12/the-nocturnal-side-of-reason.html?m=1

  10. Siobhan 10

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/12/fake-news-history-long-violent-214535

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/remedy-spread-fake-news-history-teachers-180961310/

    Fake news, ain’t nothing new here.

    It’s not the issue of the year, and It’s not the reason Hilary lost. Why buy into the press and the DNC covering its own arrogant failure??

    • adam 10.1

      Siobhan did you know h.r.c has not admitted any fault, nor have the DNC? They have been spinning like the trolls they are, to not have to admit that got it wrong.

      It’s so tiresome.

    • mickysavage 10.2

      Well address Trump’s Facebook campaigning which I found incredibly interesting yet terrifying at the same time.

  11. Huginn 11

    how and why did it work? Don’t think of it as ‘news’, think of it as the economics of clickbait.

    It’s about search engine optimisation and advertising revenue. Facebook and Google make their money out of advertising. Their business model relies on clicks, likes and re-posts etc.
    The US RW have a lot of sites like PrisonPlanet.com
    that aggregate ‘news’. These get tagged with advertising and when they are passed around on facebook, the platform gets paid. Making up clickbait is easier than journalism, that’s why there’s so much bullshit.
    The Macedonians didn’t invent this, they piggy-backed on an existing network of RW sites that monetised bullshit.

  12. Huginn 12

    The other side of this is that Facebook now has a lot of information on users that they sell to advertisers. Trump’s team used this to target a small group of voters in vital electorates.

    There is also a growing suspicion that Facebook radicalises by presenting users with ‘news’ that they ‘like’, and isolating them from news or points of view that make them feel uncomfortable.

  13. Instauration 13

    EOY report on Ben Self – “Can do better”

  14. Infused 14

    Lol. Get over it. The continued justification is embarrassing

  15. adam 15

    You might like this Micky.

  16. Ovid 16

    As a librarian part of my job is to assess information for its credibility in order to present users with the most accurate information to meet their needs. Having spent over 10 years working in libraries, I can readily accept that a lot of people aren’t as critical as they should be when looking at information.

    When you consider that my sample are those people who are motivated enough to come to a library, I am particularly worried about the people who don’t go to any extra effort to seek out information. Unless readers have the information literacy to distinguish poor sources from reliable ones, this will be a problem that will stay.

    There are some rules of thumb: the reputation of the source – are they members of the Press Council, or the Online Media Standards Authority (this is indicative only – opinion sites like Pundit, The Spinoff and Kiwiblog are on one or the other of these too). Are they under the jurisdiction of the Broadcasting Standards Authority?

    Do news sources issue retractions when they get things wrong? Do they provide strong evidence for strong claims? Does a story pass the sniff test? Is it picked up by other media with a strong reputation.

    The immediate criticism of this is that it entrenches mainstream media. I disagree. New media outlets do manage to establish themselves – The Newsroom looks interesting and Scoop is quite venerable now. But what it does do is encourage the maintenance of journalistic standards – which while sometimes are flawed, provides far more reliable information.

  17. Wensleydale 17

    “Honestly, people are definitely dumber.”

    Having watched footage of Trump rallies during the campaign and observed supporters being interviewed, this is a real issue. I know you hate Hillary, and you just want the blue team to win because Jesus told you that Mexican rapists and Muslims will steal your jobs, confiscate your guns and devour your children… but come on.

    Sometimes all you can do is shake your head.

  18. Sabine 18

    i think he said it best (and it is applicably everywhere ) a few decades ago:

    “America… just a nation of two hundred million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable.”

    Hunter S. Thompson
    Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/h/huntersth103997.html

    and what she says.
    Digby

    http://digbysblog.blogspot.co.nz/2016/12/just-putting-down-marker.html
    Her conclusion:

    Quote” Now we have Trump, the horror story some of us were screaming about until we were hoarse for the last 18 months, knowing that he could and might very well win unless the media, the Republican establishment and some very silly voters sobered up. They didn’t. And now we all have to deal with the hangover.

    I’m officially done writing about this unless something new emerges. It’s navel gazing at this point and since I believe that Trump is going to change politics and possibly the world so dramatically that lessons to be drawn from Hillary Clinton’s personal foibles or strategic decisions are useless going forward. It’s a new world.” Quote

  19. Sabine 19

    and then there is this.

    “Ostensibly a news organization, the National Rifle Association’s NRATV is actually a pro-Trump propaganda effort that routinely labels protected-speech reporting on the president-elect as a plot to destroy the United States, “anti-patriotic,” and an “assault against freedom and the Constitution.”

    In fact, the opposite is true. Freedom of the press is enshrined in the First Amendment, which reads in part, “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

    https://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/12/26/inauguration-approaches-nratv-says-dissent-against-trump-assault-constitution/214895

    but of course, no one saw that coming. right? right?

    git yer guns boys. git yer guns.

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