Non-Fake Update on Fake News

This is getting a bit confusing.  Now we see fake news writers excoriating what they call fake news.  Moreover, we now have a battle of alleged fake news going.  In the past few days the allegation that Russia was hacking the Democratic National Committee website has been a major theme of the Left in DC.  Interesting that the original hacking had to do with John Podesta, not the DNC.  Now it is the DNC.  The Left claims support from the CIA, some officials of whom have confirmed that it was Russia (who they hacked, we don’t know).  But wait, the Right enters, pointing to the FBI’s statement that there is no evidence of Russian hacking.

But that isn’t all.  Some of the prominent Clinto supporters now claim the election itself was compromised by hacking–into voting systems?  Or by news favorable to the Republicans?  I have heard both claims, though the letter is more common.

What do we do with all these claims and counterclaims?  The Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, called yesterday for hearings to get to the bottom of the issue.  That isn’t a bad idea in itself, and I have doubts that news media will seek any unbiased investigation.  On the other hand, I can’t quite determine what the Senate wants either, as we saw a “bipartisan” (they always say that when neither side knows what is going on, but desperately wants to avoid any bad publicity) investigation.  Once again, OK, an investigation isn’t a bad idea in theory.  I would like to think someone has already been doing that–like the FBI or CIA.  But it appears our once-trusted law enforcement and national security agencies are at loggerheads.  Why are they coming to different conclusions?  Or should I say at this point, making alternative statements?

I hate to be pessimistic, even cynical, but it is is possible that those agencies have become highly politicized.  If that is the case, it will be very difficult to get any really objective evidence from them.  Well, in fact, it may be difficult to get any evidence, as they may claim it is classified and refuse to release anything.

To conclude, even if we begin with the concession that Russia hacked someone, two problems arise.  First, why would they be so inept at doing so, knowing they could be embarrassed before the world if caught?  Second, my word, if they did it, they failed miserably!  Moreover, did they tell Hillary Clinton to skip Wisconsin, to run a terrible campaign, to ignore the flyover country of “deplorables,” to refuse to give press conferences, to hide her role in attempting to conceal her own private e-mail account and the thousands of e-mails?  It looks to me as if the Clinton campaign shot itself.

In the end, I am convinced the truth will emerge.  But it may take time.  I hope the Left will not continue to use their own allegations as some kind of proof that we need Federal control of elections or that we need to abolish the electoral college.   Let’s just get on with what we have to do to discover what happened.

19 thoughts on “Non-Fake Update on Fake News”

  1. This is article is very true. It is very hard to learn anything if all the information that the people of America what to know is classified from them or mixed up because of politics.

  2. A bit confusing, indeed. Provided you’re actually interested in illuminating the problem of fake news, I think either of the following would help.

    1) Decide on, state, and stick to some basic definition of “fake news.” All these abstract statements (“Now we see fake news writers excoriating what they call fake news.”) with no examples leave it totally unclear what you’re even referencing.

    2) Don’t totally elide and ignore “elephants” at the dead center of your topic. How can you write about Russian election hacking claims without mentioning that the president-elect is (still) denying their veracity? In prominent conflict with voices in his own party, no less.

  3. I would be surprised if Russia (or China, or anybody else for that matter) HASN’T hacked, or tried to hack, the United States government. I would be equally surprised if they do not have information like Secretary Clinton’s e-mails, etc.

    But the idea that a Russian hack could influence the outcome of the elections is ridiculous. For voter or electoral fraud to take place on the scale needed to actually influence the outcome of a national election, the operation would have to be so extensive and involve so many people that it would be impossible to pull off without some hard evidence coming to light somewhere. The vast majority of voting machines in the nation are closed systems and NOT connected to the internet. One would have to physically hack each precinct’s systems to pull off mass scale electoral tampering.

    The danger to elections from hacking comes from things like hacking the power grid or some other such cyber attack that would cut off power to polling stations, reduce turnout, etc, but it is nigh impossible to actually change the vote count coming in.

    It’s time for the Democrats to stop making excuses. Clinton COULD have won, but she didn’t, largely because she blundered in taking her “blue wall” for granted.

    1. Nathan, let’s keep the claims straight here.

      Statisticians have said there is a statistical difference between votes from electronic voting records and votes from paper ballets. That’s probably a claim that should be investigated. Any computer system is hackable. The NSA already has technology to cross an air gap.

      The legitimate claims that claim Russian influence on the presidential election are plausible. It’s that Russian agents released information that favored Trump over Hillary.

      1. Well, I wouldn’t be too certain about Russia as the culprit, but I don’t know and I don’t think either the CIA or the FBI know at this point. As for hacking, it looks like what has been happening won’t be too heartening to Democrats–about 37% of precincts in Detroit appear to have had more votes than the voter rolls contain. Sounds a bit like old West Virginia–vote early and vote often. Oh and wait, that would favor the Democrats, so if the Russians were trying to “throw” the election, they needed to be more competent.

      2. What statistical differences are you referring to?

        To claim that Russia had a preferred outcome in the election and might have released information favorable to one side is certainly plausible, of course, but I guess I just don’t see the big deal. So what if Russia released information favorable to Trump? That’s part of geopolitics and guess what? The United States does it too. Evidence exists that Obama actively worked to defeat Netanyahu in Israel’s last elections. Nations do this all the time. In an election there are thousands of different “information releasers” from all kinds of sources releasing information that favors one candidate or another. If information Russia supposedly released helped Trump, do you believe the Clinton campaign was somehow powerless to counter it?

      3. Dr. Clauson I want to rephrase your comment about voters in Detroit since when I read it I misinterpreted it.

        The ballot scanners counted more ballots then the number of people who showed up to vote. I originally interpreted your comment to mean more votes then registered voters, which is not surprisingly incorrect.

        And by the way your comment about Detroit proves my point. There was a real difference between electronic voting and paper ballets and that is scary.

        Nathan, if you like Putin then it’s really not a huge deal. No one wants to see the strings controlling them though.

      4. I am no fan of Putin and I do not like him. But that doesn’t mean I have to act like we are at war with him. The way some, on both sides of the aisle, talk about Russia you would think we were currently in an active state of war. Trying to improve relations with Russia as Trump appears to want to do is not an automatically bad thing and does not mean that Trump is somehow a puppet of Putin. Neither does it mean by doing so that we somehow condone all of Russia’s actions.

  4. I hope that the truth actually comes out in the end. However with Hillary involved that never seems to happen.

  5. If anyone thought that politics couldn’t get any messier, well apparently they can and they did. I really do hope that the truth eventually surfaces, although that might not be for a while.

  6. It’s hard with all the news these days because the news can be so easily controlled and monitored to feed us certain information and make us feel a certain bias towards certain things. It’s also dangerous because previously we know that Hilary has had a bit of control on the news. We have to be careful these days. Before, information was scarce but now it’s so abundant that we don’t know what can be trusted.

  7. “As for hacking, it looks like what has been happening won’t be too heartening to Democrats–about 37% of precincts in Detroit appear to have had more votes than the voter rolls contain. Sounds a bit like old West Virginia–vote early and vote often.”

    Do you have any EVIDENCE for your claim that the discrepancy was about certain voters voting more than once? Or are you merely baselessly assuming, considering your past comments regarding race, that if a largely black city such as Detroit is having voting problems, it MUST be because blacks are breaking th law (again)?

    Btw, a real expert on elections has suspected nor “malfeasance, but rather incompetence…There needs to be an audit. There needs to be better training. And there needs to be rolling out of better voting equipment, which I know is planned.”

    Why assume voter fraud? I suspect it is because of racial bias. I suspect it because you have gone down this road before, starting with your praising of noted racialist Charles Murray. You do come from West Virginia, where officials who refer to the First Lady as an “ape” end up getting their jobs back once the outrage has died down. I lived in WV for a time. The racism there was worse than it is where I live now, and I live far deeper in the South.

    Please retract your offensive comment, and pray for forgiveness.

    1. Wow dude calm down. He was making a joke and there’s no reason to think Dr. C is racist based on this statement.

    2. Interesting comment.

      First, if somehow we ended up with more votes counted than actual registered voters, there is a reason: (1) voter fraud; or (2) possible, though not likely, hacking ; or (3) your explanation of incompetence. But Detroit does have a history of some shenanigans, just like Chicago (both when its population was white and when it was mostly black), and West Virginia (largely white) and Louisiana and Philadelphia (both when it was mostly white and when it was mostly black). In other words my “allegations” have nothing to do with race, but correlate rather with other agendas. Rich that you somehow twist this to make me racist, since I mentioned West Virginia (my home state) as the analogy–with a largely white population.

      Second, your continuous attacks on Charles Murray are tiresome.

      Finally, one cannot retract what is not false or repent for what is not sin. I will not ask you to retract what you have written, but I will simply respond to bad speech with true speech.


      1. Do you have any evidence, yes or no? You know, e-v-i-d-e-n-c-e?

        I assume, once again, no. You really do model sloppy thinking quite well. You should stay out of the classroom.

        Dogwhistle racism aside, your speech is “true speech” in exactly the same way that fake news is real.

        Point blank, you were wrong to make such baseless allegations, and you are arrogant to continue to persist in your obviously sloppy thinking. I hope most of your students did not see this.

      2. Reply to reply below by the “other Anonymous”:

        I do not know who you are (though I think I might), but since this blog began as a blog on fake
        news, I will begin there too. No one can prove one way or the other that
        Russia was behind anything that has occurred, if anything has occurred.
        The jury is still out and I said so very clearly.

        Second, nowhere did I actually accuse any specific people of anything, but
        merely stated that the Democrats are in a bit of a jam. I said there are
        possible reasons for the voting problems in Detroit and that they do tend
        to point to something a bit shady-and this has happened more than once
        before in large cities, so my speculation is not baseless. I do not at
        this point have nor need evidence to prove anything since I made no actual
        accusation, but made a plausible guess as to something untoward. And I
        added that that untoward result as usual points to possible vote
        manipulation. I might be wrong, but if (long-standing) history is any
        guide, I am not far from being right. I love your continuing ad hominem
        attacks, like “dog whistle racism,” as if you think that will somehow make
        your point, whatever that is. Would you care to make any points or just
        make your own statements. Because you disagree with someone does not mean
        that they must be wrong or they must be a “deplorable” or that you should
        take the opportunity to attack the person.

        One more point. I find it interesting that this has either touched a raw
        nerve or that you like to attack those with whom you disagree. But you
        will have to go somewhere else to find racism.

      3. “One more point. I find it interesting that this has either touched a raw
        nerve or that you like to attack those with whom you disagree.”

        I would say it’s the latter for this individual. It’s like his own personal crusade to attack the writers on this blog particularly due to it being Cedarville, a place he obviously holds bitterness and contempt toward. Whenever he realizes he is being beaten in an argument he starts ad hominem attacks and twisting the conversation into something that it wasn’t to conceal his flawed logic and make himself feel good.

      4. Dr. Clauson,

        As I stated above your claim about Detroit is ambiguously worded to be easily misinterpreted.

        More votes were counted then number of votes or number of voters that showed up.

        Probably still like half the number of voters registered.

    3. Okay, whoa! Who said anything about accusing blacks of breaking the law? All I saw was an observation about voting numbers that appears, based on the news, to be factually accurate. Nothing was said about race at all.

      As far as West Virginia is concerned, you are not stating the facts correctly and in doing so disparaging an entire State over the actions of a one or two people. One person made the “ape” comment. She was not a government official but was director of a non-profit. One additional person, the mayor of a small town, liked the comment. She has stepped down and is NOT back in office.

      I might say that it is you who have made the truly discriminatory statement. You have made judgments about someone because of where they grew up. Perhaps you are the one that needs to ask forgiveness.

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