“The Sum Of All Knowledge” *Open Thread*


Or what could also be the title of this post, “It Really IS Fake News.”

The title above refers to a segment Sharyl Attkisson’s news show, “Full Measure,” had this past Sunday. It was a fascinating, albeit disturbing report, on the “news” we get from our Search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo.


Sharyl (Attkisson): When people get online every day and take part in social media or do searches for news, what is it you think they don’t know?

Matthew Brown: I don’t think they know they’re being manipulated.

Matthew Brown is a data analyst who pierces the secrecy behind paid efforts to influence online.

Sharyl: What areas of the internet are used to shape and manipulate opinions.

Brown: Everywhere social. Everywhere social means specific Facebook pages, but it also means the comment sections in every major newspaper.

That may not be surprising to many of us. Rather, it is likely a confirmation of what we suspected.

zombie14But wait – there is more to this report, and this portion of the was particularly disturbing to me. That would be the impact of “zombies.” And no, I don’t mean “zombies” as in the undead, or tv shows like “The Walking Dead” or how some folks feel in the morning.  Rather, I mean the “zombies” who influence the news that we see online especially in terms of comments or on Social Media  as explained in this excerpt from Full Measure:

Brown began investigating after his health insurance costs tripled and he commented about it on the Obamacare Facebook page. He got bombarded, he says, by digital activists disguised as ordinary people.

Brown: Digital activists are paid employees; their purpose is to attack anyone who’s posting something contrary to the view the page owner wants expressed.

Brown decided to use analysis software to crunch the numbers. He evaluated 226,000 pro-Obamacare posts made by 40,000 Facebook profiles. What he found was remarkable.

Brown: 60 percent of all the posts were made from 100 profiles, posting between the hours of 9 and 5 Pacific Time.

Sharyl: Which means what?

Brown: They were paid to post.

Brown says it’s rampant on social media. One popular tool: “zombie profiles” that make automated “robo” posts.

Brown: A zombie post is a fake, purchased or rented Facebook profile that’s expressing the views of an organization as if it was his or her own. But, when in reality, the comment being expressed is done on software and written by generally one or two people. So, the zombie posts will go out on a schedule and then they are supported by zombie likes.

Sharyl: Is there any reason to believe Republicans don’t do the same thing, and corporations as well?

Brown: There’s no reason to believe that everybody’s not doing it.

Even the government is in the game. Leaked emails show the feds seeking persona management software to allow 10 personas per user. They talk of creating an army of fake social media profiles maintained by actors gaming to hide their true location, and using tricks to add a level of realness to all fictitious personas.

Paid shills are influencing the very “news” we are getting with their “zombie” accounts. And now we know how people are arriving at the biased opinions they are blanketing the internet with – they are being paid money to “share” those “opinions.”

The zombie disclosure is, um, damning, enough in terms of what we are being fed. But how about those very search engines and how they list the responses to our queries? Here is more:

Public suspicion and allegations of bias hound the most pervasive Internet players: Twitter, Google and Facebook.

Sourcefed Video: Google has actively been altering search recommendations in favor of.

During the presidential campaign, critics discovered a Google search for “Hillary Clinton indictment,” typing in “IND,” didn’t suggest “indictment.”

Sourcefed Video: When you type Hillary Clinton I-N-D into Bing or Yahoo, there are plenty of indictment based recommendations. When you type it into Google the top two recommended autocompletions are Hillary Clinton Indiana and Hillary Clinton India.

As it happens, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, was a top Clinton donor. Its chief executive worked on the Clinton campaign. Last year, former Facebook insiders alleged they “routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers.”

Oh, yes – I am sure MOST people want to know all about Hilary Clinton and INDIA. Are you serious with that? Wow.

Fake newsAnd that kind of thing right there is why I NEVER use Google (I am a Bing user myself). I learned back during the 2008 campaign how incredibly biased they were, and how they would relegate more damning information way down the list so you really had to persevere to find the truth on the original query.

I think this last interaction between Attkisson and Brown from the Full Measure segment sums it up perfectly:

Sharyl: What would your advice be to somebody who’s taking part, either in social media or looking for information on the web?

Brown: My advice would be not to believe any of it. Take it all with a grain of salt. (Click here to read the rest.)

And there you have it: take the information you find on the web with a grain of salt. Seems like good advice to me!

This is an Open Thread. Feel free to discuss the above, or whatever else is on your minds. Have at it!


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22 Responses to ““The Sum Of All Knowledge” *Open Thread*”

  1. kenoshamarge Says:

    Don’t you like knowing there is at least one reporter who actually cares about the truth?

    I have the utmost respect for Sharyl Attkisson. She looks for the truth not for something to support a preconceived idea.

    And she opened my eyes to the manipulation that is ongoing 24/7.

    You have to work, and work very hard, to find the truth.

    I was impressed with what Brown said:

    ” My advice would be not to believe any of it. Take it all with a grain of salt.”

    Finding the truth, and seeking it amidst all those grains of salt is very hard work. Doubtful most will bother. It is so much easier to just repeat the lies and talking points.

    Great Post Rev – it makes you think and that’s always a good thing. Not enough of that going on anymore IMO.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Thanks, Marge – I appreciate that!

      And yes, I do like knowing that there area few journalists out there the caliber of Attkisson. I had to stop reading her Intro to her new book when she said that even the Editorials we see are not necessarily by the people whose name is on it but rather from some other source altogether. WHAT?? Really??? Wow. She just blows my mind with the things she reveals.

      I keep checking to see if the video of this segment is up, but not yet. It was really something. When Brown, the “grain of salt” man exposed the “zombie” accounts online, it made so many of the comments I have seen make more sense. They seemed to be regurgitating the party line to the t, and now I know why!

      It is truly disturbing to think that the “news” we get really is more propaganda than anything else these days unless, as you said, people work hard to get to the truth. Yep, way too much work for most people, even if they had the time. Clearly, that is what these sources bank on…

  2. kenoshamarge Says:

    If only voters were this smart. Any bets on how many will vote for the incumbent even if they don’t like what he/she has done?

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      I am glad that more voices are clamoring for the Reps to do what they SAID they would do – REPEAL this horrible law first. They need to be hitting away at this non-stop, and not allow the Dems to continue to frame the message. They need to hit back, and HARD, at people like Sanders claiming they are going to be killing people, using not only an outdated number, but a misleading one since more people will not have ins. bu CHOICE, not because evil Reps are trying to kill them.

      Reps really need to learn how to frame the narrative and not play defense all the damn time.

      Oh – and do what they SAID they would do!

      • kenoshamarge Says:

        What kind of fools believe that repealing Obamacare is going to kill people? Were there large numbers dying before it was implemented? It’s not as if it’s been around for decades for heaven’s sake!

        I don’t honestly believe that people will vote for the left if the GOP doesn’t keep it’s promise, I believe they will just stay home. Many left the top position blank and voted down ticket – now they’re seeing that for all the talk about Trump having no integrity or not being a Republican there is a lot of doubt about those that got our votes. I am somewhat pleased with Senator Ron Johnson and am glad I voted for him. I never expect to like ALL they say or do – that wouldn’t be realistic.

        • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

          That’s just it, Marge – that realization would involve some logical thinking and that seems to be in short supply these days! And not for nothing, Obamacare has been horrible with all of those newly covered people not being able to afford USING that coverage. Gee, what a brilliant idea THAT was, huh? Sheesh.

          You are exactly right. It is a rare person with whom we will agree on all things – like unicorn rare. So yeah, if someone is basically doing a decent job, lives up to his/her claims, that matters.

          I will always have a soft spot for Sen. Johnson for being one of the very few Senators to actually ask Clinton real questions!

          • kenoshamarge Says:

            And Johnson has also been one of the Senators who is for repeal alone although the more “famous” Senators like Cruz and Mike Lee get most of the attention. I was glad to see him in such good company.

            I am especially fond of Mike Lee. I dread to ever learn he is just another politician. I know he is a politician and must not be trusted 100% but I honestly do think he’s the best of the bunch.

          • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

            Sen. Lee is one of the good ones. I hope he is as good as he seems to be!

  3. kenoshamarge Says:

  4. kenoshamarge Says:

    4 Slurs Democrats Need To Stop Using As Political Weapons

    Look for it: When confronted with Republican ideas (or, for that matter, Republicans) Democrats’ go-to stance is always to assert, directly or by implication, that those ideas and persons are and should be deemed noxious and disqualified on the basis of four factors, the Four Big Slurs. All of them go to Republicans’ fundamentally odiferous and unenlightened character.





    These bloated, self-righteous, condescending calumnies belch forth from the top: Listen to a speech, press conference, or TV interview with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, any one of Hillary Clinton’s campaign speeches, or, heaven forfend, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Grab a piece of paper and make a hash mark every time you hear them make a beeline for one of the Four Big Slurs rather than acknowledge and deal with a legitimate counter-position.

    Your page is going to be filled with hash marks almost faster than you can make them. If you prefer your slurs unadulterated by polished political sanitizing, just watch any episode of John Oliver, Samantha Bee, or Bill Maher, who use straw dummies, half-truths, and cherry-pickings to crank out these slurs like an Indian prayer wheel.


    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Thanks so much for this, Marge – it is perfect for this post!

      I used to really like Samantha Bee, but she has become so mean and snarky, I cannot stand her. All of those people have become so overtly political in their comedy, no doubt a part of the whole “Smear” campaigns waged against Reps of which Attkisson writes…

  5. kenoshamarge Says:

  6. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    The great writer, Laura Hillenbrand, had this comment at Facebook for a WaPo article (link to follow): In a deeply divisive time in America, an astonishingly brave mass act of kindness testifies to humanity’s essential goodness. What is incredible to me is the trust each one of these people placed in every single person in the chain. Had one of them let go, everyone beyond likely would have drowned. They all risked their lives to save others, and they did it on a basic faith in the kindness of strangers.

    No one let go.

    Here’s the link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/07/11/a-riptide-swept-away-a-florida-family-then-beachgoers-formed-a-human-chain/

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      When you think that humanity has sunk so low…

      Suddenly there is something to tell you that people are still good and kind and caring. Thanks for sharing this – I need to be reminded frequently.

      • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

        My pleasure, Marge. And yes, we all need these reminders that most people are basically good, decent, caring, compassionate people. Politics and the internet can make us forget that sometimes…

  7. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    Seems the NYPD let the Mayor know what they thought of him – again – as he spoke at the funeral for Officer Familia: http://www.dailywire.com/news/18489/cops-turn-their-backs-mayor-de-blasio-funeral-amanda-prestigiacomo

  8. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    By all means, let’s keep talking abt Donnie, Jr. and Russia. I mean, it’s not like there is anything else going on, like this little acknowledgement from Schumer:


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