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Thursday
Oct252018

Who "falls for" fake news? Apparently no one.

A few people have asked me what I think of Pennycook, G. & Rand, D.G, “Lazy, not biased: Susceptibility to partisan fake news is better explained by lack of reasoning than by motivated reasoning,” Cognition  (2018), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2018.06.011.

In general, I like it.  The topic is important, and the claims and analyses interesting.

But here are a couple of problems.

First, the sample is not valid. 

The study was administered to M Turk workers, who for well-known reasons are not suitable for studies of the interaction of political identity and information processing (e.g., Krupnikov & Levine 2014).

But the real problem with the sample is something even more fundamental: the subjects in the study do not represent the individuals whose behavior the paper purports to be modeling.

Exposure to “fake news” is not something that occurred with equal probability to everyone in the general population, or even to everyone on Facebook or Twitter. Indeed, it was concentrated in a relatively small group of highly conservative individuals (Guess, Nyhan & Reifler 2018).

If one wants to draw inferences, then, about “who falls for fake news” in the real world, one needs to sample from that segment of the population. Its members necessarily share some distinctive disposition to consume an unusual form of political communication (or miscommunication).  It is conceivable that motivated reasoning figures in the propensity of this class’s members to “fall for” fake news even if it doesn’t in a convenience sample whose members have been recruited without regard for this distinctive disposition.

Second, the data do not support the key inference that P&R draw.

P&R conclude that people who score low on a variant of the Cognitive Reflection Test were more likely to “fall for” fake news.  But in fact, their own evidence shows that no one was falling for fake news:

 

As this Figure demonstrates, the difference between subjects scoring low on CRT ("intuitive") and those scoring high ("deliberative") related only to the reported intensity with which subjects of those types rated fake news as lacking accuracy.

Underscores the lesson that a “significant” correlation can be insufficient to justify an inference from the data where the variance explained occurs over a range inconsistent with the study hypothesis (Dixon & Jones 2015).

Refs

Dixon, R.M. & Jones, J.A. Conspiracist Ideation as a Predictor of Climate-Science Rejection: An Alternative Analysis. Psychol Sci 26, 664-666 (2015).

Guess, A., Nyhan B. & Reifler J. Selective Exposure to Misinformation: Evidence from the consumption of fake news during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. Working paper (2018), at http://www.dartmouth.edu/~nyhan/fake-news-2016.pdf.

Krupnikov, Y. & Levine, A.S. Cross-Sample Comparisons and External Validity. Journal of Experimental Political Science 1, 59-80 (2014).

 

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Reader Comments (75)

Dan -

Indeed, it was concentrated in a relatively small group of highly conservative individuals...

How would you explain that conclusion to the (roughly 1/3? of) Americans who think that the readers of the WaPo, or NYT, or watchers of CNN, are the people most likely to "fall for" fake news?"

Also, wouldn't it be important to have a measure to distinguish between who consumes fake news and who "falls for" fake news?

October 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

@Joshua--

<<How would you explain that conclusion to the (roughly 1/3? of) Americans who think that the readers of the WaPo, or NYT, or watchers of CNN, are the people most likely to "fall for" fake news?">>

I'd ask for evidence. (I'd also refer them to criteria for "fake," which excludes WaPo. NYT & CNN; the 1/3 can define "fake" in a different way, of course but then I'd not be in scholarly conversation w/ them).

<<Also, wouldn't it be important to have a measure to distinguish between who consumes fake news and who "falls for" fake news?>>

Yes. That is what should be measured: of those who "consume," what fraction "fall for" or believe what they are consuming. The measurements are not valid, however, if consumption is forced on a sample most of whose real world counterparts don't consume. Or to put another way, the measurement of "fall for" has to be conditional on real-world & not merely lab consumption.

October 26, 2018 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Hi Dan

On your two criticisms

"The sample is not valid". The sample may not match the demographic characteristics of who was actually exposed to fake news, but that doesn't mean it is an invalid sample for drawing inferences about the cognitive mechanisms which may affect fake news responses. Specifically Pennycook and Rand want to test the interaction of partisan bias and cognitive reflection. Yes, you have to make an inferential leap to suppose that these same mechanisms - if true - also hold for those who experience fake news "in the wild", but if you're willing to grant that there is some universality in the cognitive mechanisms that is justified, right?

Fwiw, I think there are other sample issues, given the peculiarities of mturk samples (extreme non-naivety to psychology experiments, high levels of low-involvement responding)

"the data do not support the key inference that P&R draw". Yes, the fake news stories are rated, on average, as inaccurate. They were selected to be "implausible" after all. But there is still variation across individuals and across items in how they were rated. Wouldn't it be fair to draw inferences about the acceptance of fake news from the factors (such as partisan bias and cognitive reflection) which are related to this variation, low as it is?

Again, fwiw, I have downloaded the data and had a look and I think the use of a four point (as published) or two point (as preregistered) rating of accuracy means that this data is tricky to analyse, and especially treating this rating scales as continuous variables. There may be meaningful variation, but - as you say - it is hard to be sure.

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTom Stafford

Regarding the second point, on (cognitive) reflection, I think I have just contradicted your claim rather than provided any argument against it. You say that there is variation in the data, but that it occurs outside the range which is relevant to the question (i.e. on average nobody accepted the fake news). I said that variation could still be informative. My intuition is that it is, but how to arbitrate? Not sure!

Would you accept a re-analysis of the data which looked at the individual instances where fake news was rated as accurate (ie 3 or 4 on their 4-point scale) and developed a model which predicted this from partisan bias and CRT score?

Although the average rating of fake news was as "inaccurate", I just checked the data and (if I crunched it right), most individuals rated one or more fake news stories as accurate. I can't think of a better way to do this, so I'm going to tweet you the graph and link to it here https://twitter.com/tomstafford/status/1055748703456321536

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered Commentertom stafford

@Tom:

[note: I drafted this in between your first & second comments but am including anyway:]


The sampling problem I mean to identify is, as you know, not lack of "demographic representativeness." It is missing variable bias: P&R measure responses w/o regard for whether the subjects were in the small class of people who actually were meaningfully exposed to "fake news"; if *their* responses, but not those of people outside of that class, were distorted by motivated reasoning, the inclusion of latter in analysis would drown out that effect in former. "Falling for" should be measured conditional on the missing variable "likely to be exposed" in the real world-- or should be if what we are interested in is real-world effects.

I am *unwilling* to make "the inferential leap" of assuming that information processing of fake news was uniform across those w/ & w/o the propensities that account for being significantly exposed to fake news outside of the lab. I'll wait for the analyses of those who grapple with this issue.

October 26, 2018 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

@Tom: How about run a logistic regression on "1 or more [=1] vs 0 [=0]" fake stories viewed as "accurate" w/ CRT score as predictor. I would find that relevant if not dispositive of whether there is the type of bias I am worried about.

Would also be interested in hearing more about the "other sample issues" that you advert to

October 26, 2018 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

I still think that you're simplifying the distinctions between fake- and non-fake news, when in fact there is a lot of crossover...

the 1/3 can define "fake" in a different way, of course but then I'd not be in scholarly conversation w/ them.

Then how would you engage with them in a non-scholarly fashion...in the sense of the science of effective science communication? IMO, the question engagement on this topic between the 1/3? or so of the American public who think that WaPo, NYT, CNN etc. are fake news, and the 2/3? or so who don't, is a supremely important question.

Or to put another way, the measurement of "fall for" has to be conditional on real-world & not merely lab consumption.

I agree - but then it seems that the task is nigh impossible.

Seems to me you would have to define the entire set of what could possibly be fake news messages sent out into the world, and then take a representative sampling to measure both, how many people consumed each of the messages and then, how many people "fell for" any of the messages.

October 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

There is a barrage of fake news today about Robert Bowers, the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter, alleging antisemitism. But based on his posts saved on the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine >
https://web.archive.org/web/20181027160428/https://imgur.com/a/cwB9QkR
> he appears to have had nothing against Jews, but plenty against illegal migrants.

He shot up that particular synagogue because it was hosting an event for a "Refugees Welcome" organisation named H.I.A.S. Separately, he didn't support president Trump, and he wouldn't be caught dead in a MAGA hat, he said.

October 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Ecoute -


he appears to have had nothing against Jews,...

Remarkable.

So I guess the comments he made about how all jews must die while shooting people at the synagogue, the antisemitic comments he made to the police after he was arrested, and online posts such as: There is no #MAGA as long as there is a kike infestation are all just fake news?

And is it fake news that his online profile said "“jews are the children of Satan?" or is it merely your opinion that such a belief is not antisemitic?

Separately, he didn't support president Trump,

Apparently he thought Trump was too accommodating to "kikes." And apparently he was angry at Trump because of the prosecution related to Charlottesville (maybe he shares your opinion that the prosecution was unfair because the"fat" woman wasn't murdered, but died due to a heart attack)?

Tell me, do you post at Gab?

October 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

The reference was to a linked web archive. I have no other data on the shooter, or his opinions.

October 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

I have no other data on the shooter, or his opinions.

So why did you call the "barrage" of allegations of antisemitism "fake news?"

October 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

A partial order of battle of the illegal migrant debate is summarized in the following two articles. As practically all the combatants appear to be of the Jewish faith I don't see how antisemitism is involved.

https://www.jta.org/2018/05/15/news-opinion/united-states/jewish-groups-fighting-private-things-say-public
https://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/faith-and-morals/item/29761-justice-department-will-cut-ties-to-splc-sessions-says

October 27, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Ecoute -

Lol. Stop ducking.

What were you referring to as "fake news," if not the "allegations" that Bowers is rabidly antisemitic?

Do you share his belief that Jewish organizations are fostering
an "invasion" of our country?

October 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Ecoute -

I don't see how antisemitism is involved.

You don't see how antisemitism is involved in what?

Bowers' world view?

His views on jews?

His murdering jews in a synonogue?

His views that jews are fostering an invasion?

October 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

"How would you explain that conclusion to the (roughly 1/3? of) Americans who think that the readers of the WaPo, or NYT, or watchers of CNN, are the people most likely to "fall for" fake news?""

Well, the obvious explanation would be that everyone likes to get their news from congenial sources. Since almost all the mainstream news media in America (apart from Fox News) is biased strongly liberal, most of the people turning to alternative news sources will be those conservatives with the least tolerance for liberal bias.

The other reason, if you check the paper Dan cites, is that the 'fake news' database used by Guess, Nyhan & Reifler 2018 for their study came from Allcott and Gentzkow 2017, who produced it by trawling Snopes, Politifact, and Buzzfeed, claiming these to be politically neutral (or more precisely, that the fact-checking sites themselves claimed to be neutral). Of course, I've seen plenty of conservatives say that they're biased liberal, too, and given that 80% of the articles they flagged as 'fake news' were pro-Trump, you can easily see why!

Such a sampling method has all sorts of inherent selection biases. The fact-checking sites address the stories that are most widely spread, that are most likely to be referred to them for checking, that they're more likely to pick out of the referrals for checking, and that they can confirm to be 'false' by citing sources in the (liberal-biased) mainstream media.

The result is a database where 80% of the articles identified as 'fake news' are pro-Trump, and therefore it is not a great surprise to find that it is mainly pro-Trump sites that cite them and pro-Trump readers who read them!

"the 1/3 can define "fake" in a different way, of course but then I'd not be in scholarly conversation w/ them."

Well no, of course not! Since it's also well known that, like the news media, the social sciences part of academia is also predominantly liberal, it's not likely that there would be much overlap! Liberal colleagues reviewing papers are presumably less likely to notice a pro-liberal bias in methods or sources, and point it out. It's one of the more obvious risks of a lack of intellectual diversity!

--

All joking aside, I noticed in the bar graph above that the neutrals were similar in level to those who were ideologically predisposed to believe. The effect seems to be that those disposed to disbelieve are more likely to do so. Could it be that pro-Trump readers are more likely to disbelieve pro-Clinton fake news not because they're being more discerning, but simply because it's pro-Clinton? Do they do the same with stories that are bizarre-sounding but turn out not to be fake?

That the neutrals were also more likely to fall for fake news seems to me like an interesting observation that needs explaining. What do you think?

October 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

In an effort to clarify this antisemitism miasma I actually wrote a comment on an article on today's NYTimes. The author seems (seems!) to agree with my perspective - the opposition is to refugees, not to Jews.
Link
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/28/opinion/hias-tree-of-life-pittsburgh-refugees.html?comments#permid=29195373

October 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Ecoute -

- the opposition is to refugees, not to Jews.

Good point. Why would anyone think that screaming "All jews must die" while murdering 11 of them, calling them "kikes," saying there is a "kike invasion," saying that "jews are the children of Satan," etc. might signal "opposition" to jews?

Like I said, remarkable.

Anyway, I wouldn't feel any less disgusted if his victims weren't jews and weren't targeted because of his antisemitism - but I do find your instinct to downplay his obvious antisemitism to be quite unexplainable.

Do you post at Gab?

Why did you call the reports of his antisemitism "fake news?"

October 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Something very interesting is going on. Gab's domain name registrar GoDaddy pulled their registration, so Gab is now off the internet. The website https://gab.ai/ reads:

"Gab.com is under attack. We have been systematically no-platformed by App Stores, multiple hosting providers, and several payment processors. We have been smeared by the mainstream media for defending free expression and individual liberty for all people and for working with law enforcement to ensure that justice is served for the horrible atrocity committed in Pittsburgh. Gab will continue to fight for the fundamental human right to speak freely.

As we transition to a new hosting provider Gab will be inaccessible for a period of time. We are working around the clock to get Gab.com back online. Thank you and remember to speak freely."

Their site on Twitter @GetOnGab has updates. They have been dropped from all payment processors as well.

Doesn't Dan run a legal clinic? Should I send Torba (Gab's site owner) along for advice? His current lawyer is thinking of filing a complaint citing restraint of trade under the Sherman Act (1890) against the e-Cartel. No idea if this will fly.

October 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

NiV -

Well, the obvious explanation would be that...

Apparently you misumderstood my question. I wasn't asking for an explanation (let alone one from you) for why some 1/3 of the public define fake news in the manner they do so, but how Dan thinks he can communicate effectively about the "science" related to fake news.

Since almost all the mainstream news media in America (apart from Fox News) is biased strongly liberal,...

I'm curious about how you define the "mainstream media.". Do you exclude the WSJ, the Washington Times, rightwing talk radio (e.g., Limbaugh, Larry Elder, Mark Levin, etc.), Alex Jones, etc., and if so, in what basis you do so.

I'm also curious as to how you determine "liberal bias," as opposed to just framing news from a perspective to the left of Fox News... and to the right of many other news sources. I've been struck with how many people who call themselves "conservatives," and have for decades, are included within the coverage of putatively "liberally biased" news sources (such as MSNBC, CNN, the NYT, WaPo, etc.). From my perspective, what you (IMO incoherently) refer to as the MSM is not "liberally biased" even though it is clearly to the left of what I would consider to be rightwing fanatic news coverage. I would say that in terms of the American electorate, what you call the MSM, is rather "middle-biased." is falling in a particular place in the ideological constellation the same thing as "bias?"

Btw, what do you think of Ecoute's view that the reports of Bowers' antisemiticism are "fake news" (as opposed to the view that actually, he was just opposed to an invasion from illegal immigrants)?

October 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

The allegedly independent website Medium had previously published an update by Torba but has now taken it down. Thanks to the good people keeping the Internet Archive however we can still read it.

https://archive.fo/vysbL

The ongoing newsfakery is every bit as ridiculous as the old Sovs' habit of "deleting" people from photographs with Stalin. That technique relied on the destruction of all old photographs, of course. But once on the internet, always on the internet - storage is cheap, and distributed internationally.

October 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Latest on the Gab saga (source, Twitter 4 minutes ago)

Gab.com 🍂

Verified account

@getongab
4m4 minutes ago
More
We took the site down early on purpose last night because we knew the media would take the bait and have stories on it for this morning.

They aren’t very bright people, so it is very easy to predict their actions. Working on transferring to our new host today/tomorrow.

October 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Dan - in your proposed criteria for Fake News, consider adding "any proposition which requires Newspeak [TM Orwell] for its justification".

Example from one of Gab's payment processors, as quoted in:
https://www.wsj.com/articles/violence-foreshadowed-in-social-media-1540724406
"A PayPal spokesman said: "When a site is allowing the perpetuation of hate, violence or discriminatory intolerance, we take immediate and decisive action.""

If there is a legal definition of "discriminatory intolerance" other than pure Newspeak I'd like to see it.

October 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

To its eternal credit, the NY Times published also my second post on the Golinkin article. Comments now closed.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/28/opinion/hias-tree-of-life-pittsburgh-refugees.html?comments#permid=29202441

October 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

"Apparently you misumderstood my question. I wasn't asking for an explanation (let alone one from you) for why some 1/3 of the public define fake news in the manner they do so, but how Dan thinks he can communicate effectively about the "science" related to fake news."

And I was giving the answer. Dan would tell them that the reason was that only right-wingers who were disatisfied with the mainstream and so needed to turn to alternative news sources, and that the definition of fake news used was subject to several forms of selection bias, and it was not surprising that with 80% of 'fake news' in the database being pro-Trump, that it was mainly conservatives who were reading it.

That would remove the ideological threat inherent in the information, allowing them to accept the claim as possibly true and go on to consider the consequences.

It's basic 'science of science communication'. You don't make scientific claims in a way that threatens people's political identity unless you absolutely have to! That just entangles the science with political conflict. Saying that the readers and spreaders of 'fake news' are predominantly conservative does exactly that! It's basically saying "conservatives are liars!"

"I'm also curious as to how you determine "liberal bias," as opposed to just framing news from a perspective to the left of Fox News... and to the right of many other news sources."

There are numerous studies on the question. See the tables on p1212 and p1228 here, for example. An ADA score ovber 50 counts as 'more liberal that the average senator'. And the number of journalists voting Republican or Democrat is also very different from the population average. I gather the problem has been getting worse since then.

For what it's worth, the cause doesn't appear to be political bias in recruiting so much as geography. Most of the big publishers tend to cluster in coastal cities, New york especially, which are predominantly liberal areas. However, the effect is that journalists have an outlook noticeably to the left of average, and if you judge the average american by what you see in the urban-oriented media (or by what all your liberal friends and neighbours think) rather than what's going on out in flyover country, the media will look more neutral than it is.

"I've been struck with how many people who call themselves "conservatives," and have for decades, are included within the coverage of putatively "liberally biased" news sources"

I think they're known as "RINOs", yes? :-)

"From my perspective, what you (IMO incoherently) refer to as the MSM is not "liberally biased" even though it is clearly to the left of what I would consider to be rightwing fanatic news coverage."

From *your* perspective, sure!

What I mean is it's left-wing of the average American voter. Hence (for example) the universal surprise when Trump got elected!

Everyone judges it from their own perspective. If you think the media is centrist, then that just means you're at about the same point of the spectrum the media is.

"Btw, what do you think of Ecoute's view that the reports of Bowers' antisemiticism are "fake news" (as opposed to the view that actually, he was just opposed to an invasion from illegal immigrants)?"

I've no idea. I've not looked into it.

But I don't have an issue with the idea that the alt-right live in their own isolated media bubble, and are just as bad at picking up valid refutations as the other side. We're all human. We're all fallible.

It's about intellectual diversity, and seeking out different perspectives. Everyone has cognitive blindspots, but different people have *different* blindspots, so we can find out what's in ours by asking someone else to argue with us. We need to see opponents not as a nuisance to be gotten rid of, but as a valuable resource for checking our own ideas. Science progresses when claims survive hostile scrutiny - the more hostile scrutiny we get, the stronger the science. And so we should be really worried if our institutions don't have that sort of diversity. If you find 90%+ of the people in your field are all of one common perspective, you've got a big problem! First, how the hell did that happen if you're really being objective and unbiased in your recruiting? And second, what are you failing to see because of your common blindspots?

You should look at Ecoute, and see your own reflection. That's how someone who is exclusively and determinedly partisan for the liberal side on every issue looks from the outside. Are you happy with that idea?

As we've said before, if motivated cognition is really symmetric, why is 'our' side allways right on every factual issue and the 'other' side always wrong? What are the odds of that happening by chance? Where are all the issues on which 'our' side is wrong? How many can you name where the typical liberal position is wrong, for example?

You can only find out by really *listening* to the other side, with respect and seriousness.

October 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

More Newspeak, this time from Facebook: “coordinated inauthentic behavior”

October 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Ecoute,

Thanks so much for clarifying the true motives of the Pittsburgh shooting. Just like the supposed retributive violence surrounding the blood libel claims, world domination conspiracies such as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion (an early Russian fake news scam!), resistance to forced conversion to Catholicism in the inquisition, etc., the true motive is rarely really antisemitism, right?

Although, you surely could understand our confusion upon finding out that Bowers told law enforcement when apprehended that he just wanted to kill Jews. Doesn't he deserve some blame for the confusion he caused by this claim? Also, he didn't seem to have inquired as to the specific immigration views of each potential victim before shooting. As there are Jews that don't support non-European immigration that may have been there, that's probably just carelessness on either Bowers' part or their part, right?

But, how much does his true motivation really matter compared to the effect? Did he even know his true motivation?

Also, I trust you extended similar energies towards correcting the belief by many on the alt-right that immigration causes increased crime, as many studies have been done on that topic, with few to my knowledge showing any positive correlation - certainly nothing near the level of anyone's definition of genocide (one of the Pittsburgh shooter's claims) - and many showing a moderate negative correlation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_and_crime#United_States, for example, cites many such sources (even warranting an <excessive citations> annotation).

October 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Doesn't he deserve some blame for the confusion he caused by this claim?

Small price to pay for slowing, at least to some degree, the alien invasion that's being underwritten by jews.

October 29, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Jonathan - try NPR, not hitherto known as an alt-right website.
https://www.npr.org/2018/10/29/661711728/new-york-times-opinion-writer-on-pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting

"INSKEEP: The social media posts associated with the suspect suggest that he was interested in conspiracy theories linking Jews to refugees. He was interested in the caravan that President Trump has blown up into a major national news story. [..]
WEISS: Well, that's the thing. The Jewish connection to the refugee is not a conspiracy. That's something that we're very, very proud of. The organization that Robert Bowers was constantly calling out is an organization called HIAS.."

October 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

As to the Spanish Inquisition, it was no match for the modern censors:

>Model corporate policy/term of service
>Users may not use these services to engage in hateful activities or use these services to
>facilitate hateful activities engaged in elsewhere, whether online or offline.

https://cdn.americanprogress.org/content/uploads/2018/10/24111621/ModelInternetCompanies-appendix.pdf

October 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

What is a "hateful activity"? Please refer to Newspeak sample above, any activity involving "discriminatory intolerance".

E.g., since dating services servers know how long you spend studying profiles of possible matches, failing to spend equal time on an entry by "fat black woman with cats experimenting with voodoo" might get you booted from the service, or - if the new censors have their way - from the entire internet.

These people think there might be hope in getting the FTC to find a right to privacy - presumably in the Constitution's alleged emanations.
https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/10/25/facebook-autocracy-app/

October 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

Ecoute,

I don't doubt that Bowers was obsessed with HIAS at all. I suspect that he'd be very interested in any justifications he could find for his views and eventual actions, especially one linking to other views he has. You know, when the last straw finally breaks the camel's back, each of the other straws is just as culpable. Although, perhaps there was a recency and/or availability bias to this last straw - as the immigrant crime canard is the drum being banged the loudest these days. Hence, my hope that you are just as conscientious about pointing out that fallacy on alt-right sites as you are about pointing out Bowers' HIAS obsession here. After all, the best way to stop the spread of fake news is with in-group counter-messengers.

I read a salient point made by alt-right fav Heidi Beirich:

Heidi Beirich, who directs the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project, said HIAS's name comes up on white-supremacist message boards whenever posters become angry about refugees or immigrants. She noted that other resettlement agencies, such as those associated with Christian religions, have not raised the same sort of ire.

But, might be fake news itself, right? After all, Beirich probably is a Jewess, as made quite obvious by her remarkably Natalie Portman-like smile.

October 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonathan - chains of causality are infinite (Aristotle showed that first) so only the proximate cause matters. At any rate documented facts cannot be designated as conspiracy theories.

October 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

) so only the proximate cause matters.

Indeed. Good point. Nothing proximate about killing all jews, and "kike" infestations...

Remarkable.

October 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Jonathan -

I suspect that he'd be very interested in any justifications he could find for his views and eventual actions, especially one linking to other views he has...

Do you mean it's possible that he hates jews and hates immigrants and is a white supremacist all at the same time? How could all that be?

Doesn't the fact that he hates immigrants prove that he isn't antisemitic, and that any reports of his antisemitism (e.g., his wanting to kill all jews and his concerns about kike infestations) are fake news?

I'm going with what Ecoute has clarified, Bowers' "concerns" are with refugees, not with jews, because he couldn't be "concerned" about both.

October 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Joshua,

Yes - just like the blood libels were really all about hating vampires. And the Jewish world domination conspiracies are really all about hating oligarchs. And the opposition to Steyer, Soros and Bloomberg is really all about hating Citizens United.

So, perhaps I have more in common with the alt-right than the obvious skin-tone similarities (and lack of a Natalie-Portman-esque smile) than I'd like to admit, as I dislike oligarchs and Citizens United as well. And I don't think very highly of anyone who is anti-garlic.

October 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

LOL. You reminded me of a sign I saw at an anti-Trump gathering in New York, that said:
"I'll Believe Corporations Are People When Texas Executes One."

Opposition to Citizens United is - to my knowledge - strictly a leftist cause. If Steyer, Bloomberg, Soros, want to throw away a few more millions to combat global warming, smoking, obesity or whatever that's fine! The part that worries us is efforts to restrict speech - see censorship attempts by Media Matters, SPLC, etc posted above earlier today. More speech is always a good thing.

On the positive side, Gab expects to be back online by this weekend, unless the Pennsylvania A.G. (man named Shapiro) manages to obtain a restraining order. The site certainly got tons of free publicity recently - just before it closed down it was getting a million hits an hour.

October 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

link drop:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelshellenberger/2018/10/29/top-climate-scientists-warn-governments-of-blatant-anti-nuclear-bias-in-latest-ipcc-climate-report

October 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Ecoute -

Did Bowers shoot those people because he shares your concerns about the assault on free speech?

October 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Ecoute,

"Opposition to Citizens United is - to my knowledge - strictly a leftist cause....The part that worries us is efforts to restrict speech..."

Thanks for that further clarification. Can see some real consistency now - as I recall another coincidentally Jewish-y sounding named person who wanted to reinstate the sedition act to restrict speech - quite coincidentally a man named Shapiro. Oh, wait....

I'm not sure - did I just disprove your theory, or mine?

October 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

What theory? I deal in facts. Ben Shapiro is not one of ours, Yair Netanyahu is.
https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/like-the-trumps-netanyahu-jr-lies-down-with-the-dogs-of-america-s-anti-semitic-alt-right-1.5450042

October 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

If you thought the fake news about Bowers' antisemitism was bad, check this out.

https://slate.com/technology/2018/10/brazil-election-fake-news-whatsapp-facebook.html

October 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

I deal in facts.

Facts like Bowers' antisemitism being fake news?

October 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Facts. As in evidence. There is not a scintilla of evidence in support of the antisemitism hypothesis, and massive evidence in support of opposition to illegal migrants supported by HIAS. How many times does this have to be repeated until it sinks in?

October 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

I deal in facts.

In that case, can I have your promise to "deal" the fact to alt-right sites that there is no meaningful positive correlation, and instead a moderate negative one, between immigration and criminal activity in the US?

October 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

How many times does this have to be repeated until it sinks in?

Sorry. It's just that the "just wanted to kill Jews" line keeps ringing in my ears. Probably a first impression bias. I'll work on it.

October 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Jonathan - illegal presence in the country is ipso facto evidence of criminality, which makes the correlation 100%. Hard to improve, statistically.

But on antisemitism, I was once told that it is invisible to the classically trained European mind, and advised to consult Plutarch's Moralia for the proof. The best-known translation of that work is by Abbe Ricard, and since I cannot improve on his text, here is a link:
https://books.google.com/books?id=nbFNAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA49&dq=plutarch+moralia+jews+christians+romans+greeks+abbe+ricard&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjA_uL3ya_eAhXDmVkKHXcvBW0Q6AEIKDAA#v=onepage&q=plutarch%20moralia%20jews%20christians%20romans%20greeks%20abbe%20ricard&f=false

October 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

PS sorry, link includes lots of unrelated texts, please see pp 49-50 only, starting with "Article IV. A Fragment".

October 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEcoute Sauvage

. There is not a scintilla of evidence in support of the antisemitism hypothesis,

Good point. Other than him saying he wanted to kill all jews, his talking about jews being the creation of Satan, and his taking about "kikes" and "kike invasions," there isn't a scintilla of his antisemiticism

Once again, I ask you, are these reports "fake news?"

Remarkable.

October 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Ecoute -

Why do you feel some reflective impulse to deny Bowers' antisemiticism?

Why do you seek to distance the evidence of rabid hatred towards jews from his murder of jews while they worshipped on a synagogue?

That you do so while claiming that you "deal with facts," is indeed fascinating, but IMO, is very much a secondary issue.

What's really got me curious is why you are trying to rationalize his antisemiticism and are seeking, (in vain) , to try to make a rational argument that his rabid antisemiticism is irrelevant to his mass murder of jews in their place of worship.

You do realize, that he can actually be rabidly antisemitic, and murder jews because he's antisemitic, and also hate refugees and immigrants, don't you? There's no reason why those brands of hatred need to be mutually exclusive.

You do realize that, right?

October 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Perhaps this is instructive, as to the questions I've asked Ecoute? (bold added):

[Gab] User Brett Stevens also posted another poll asking, “Do you support the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter, Robert Bowers?” Almost 25 percent said they did. Commenting on the poll, one user said, “As long as Jews support the indiscriminate genocide of my race, fuck yeah I do.”

October 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

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