The Misinformation Campaign

An increasingly popular tactic challenges conventional wisdom on the spread of electoral disinformation: the creation of partisan outlets masquerading as local news organizations. An investigation by the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School has discovered at least 450 websites in a network of local and business news organizations, each distributing thousands of algorithmically generated articles and a smaller number of reported stories. Of the 450 sites we discovered, at least 189 were set up as local news networks across ten states within the last twelve months by an organization called Metric Media.

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Sometimes it’s hard to imagine how people vote a certain way or just come up with the ideas they do. It’s time we all spend more time understanding that many people are just living in a faux reality, and that reality is much bigger than many can fathom.

Facebook Is Breaking Brains

It has become a familiar story: The older relative, the intensifying Fox News habit, the alarming Facebook posts, the inevitable detachment from reality. Losing a parent to the conservative cyber-swamp is such a common experience among millennials that it has produced an entire sub-genre of documentaries, books and online support groups.

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Facebook is literally destroying nations across the world. From the Philippines to Myanmar to right in our backyard, the damage Facebook is doing is hard to quantify.

What Kamala Harris Learned About Power at Howard

Since graduating, Ms. Harris has been an active part of the Howard alumni community. Her line sisters from Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc. said she speaks with them regularly, even from the campaign trail, checking in recently with one member who was coping with a health issue. At an event in Atlanta during her presidential run, she saved a front-row seat for an A.K.A. sister she knew would be in attendance, telling no one.

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This is such great work from Astead Herndon.

Census Count Can Be Cut Short, Supreme Court Rules

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the Trump administration to shut down the census count ahead of schedule, a move that could allow the Census Bureau to submit tabulations excluding unauthorized immigrants by the end of the year.

The court’s brief, unsigned order gave no reasons, which is typical when the court acts on emergency applications. Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented, saying that “the harms associated with an inaccurate census are avoidable and intolerable.”

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First of all, the framing of this story stinks. It is not just about excluding unauthorized immigrants. They are the most impacted groups, but this is about undercounting cities in general where the work takes longer to complete.

Second, status does not matter when it comes to the census.

Third, people better wake up and realize what is happening. The Roberts court has been very clear on issues around voting rights and now this. They will do whatever is needed to maintain a conservative majority. Those who think he will be your savior because he wrote a nuanced opinion on the ACA need to understand that Roberts entire being is about protecting corporate rights and blocking people he does not like voting. If this election ends up at the Supreme Court, he will not be your friend.

Dan Le Batard On the NBA and Black Lives Matter

It must feel unusually powerless for the powerful — silly and meaningless, even — to wear the words “How many more” or “Listen to us” on the back of your jersey while another Black man takes seven bullets to his own back. Police brutality isn’t worse than it has been; it is just televised more often. The system isn’t actually broken; it works as intended and a little too well (police forces didn’t even exist in the South until they were created to prevent slave revolt and chase down runaways). Black men are killed and incarcerated at a disproportionate rate in America, which is why Clippers coach Doc Rivers gives voice to the heartbreak when he wonders why the country Black people love can’t just love them back. What the hell is controversial about requesting equality?

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There are certain sports columnists that just get it. So many including Dan have moved over to radio and tv and rarely pick up the pen anymore. When they do however you know it is must read.

Always Read Margaret Sullivan

That argument can be dismantled in a nanosecond. Should the denialist views of, say, Alex Jones of Infowars on the Sandy Hook massacre be given a prestigious platform, too? But Cotton is a prominent political figure, you say? By that logic, the lies of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway should be welcomed on news-discussion shows daily because she’s close to the president.

Perhaps a more useful way to think about many of these tough issues is to consider the role of journalism in democratic society: to dig out and present the information that helps citizens hold their elected officials accountable.

What if we framed coverage with this question at the forefront: What journalism best serves the real interests of American citizens?

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So many in the press have become nothing more than stenographers for those in power, and as this piece points out that has to change.

The Newsletters Chosen for my Inbox

It seems that every media outlet, company, and person on the internet has a newsletter now. For a while I signed up for so many that I ended up reading none. Now I have paired down what reaches my inbox, and it feels like a perfect balance. Here are the newsletters that I find are must read.

The Daily Book – New York Times

Theatre Update – New York Times

Reliable Sources – CNN

The Morning Brew

Stratechery (Subscription) – Ben Thompson

The Interface – The Verge

Incompetence Leads to Excess Death

By suddenly halting travel from Europe, the Trump administration ignored a timeless lesson of human migration: slamming borders shut usually has the opposite of the intended effect. Rather than ending cross-border movement, sudden immigration bans or caps create large and often unmanageable rushes of people hoping to make it across the border before it is too late. These surges occur immediately after bans are announced, when returning travelers rush to meet real or imagined deadlines, and often in the days and weeks beforehand, in anticipation of expected announcements. And when some of the people rushing to cross the border are carrying a potentially deadly virus, the result can be catastrophic.

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The US government has screwed up every bit of the response, and the worst part instead of learning and adjusting they have doubled down on the crazy.

A History of Pandemics and Institutional Racism

In the United States, that pandemic did nothing to blunt structural racism. “The 1918 pandemic revealed the racial inequalities and fault lines in health care,” Gamble says. At the time, black doctors and nurses hoped it would prompt improvements. “But nothing changed. After the pandemic there were no major public health efforts to address the health care of African Americans.”

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An unreal and sobering read that goes into detail on the history of pandemics.