A breakthrough against Israeli apartheid at the New York Times

The growing worldwide support for the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement to pressure Israel over its treatment of Palestinians has led the Israeli government to ban 20 organizations that support BDS from entering Israel. The list includes Codepink, American Friends Service Committee, and Jewish Voice for Peace. The Israel lobby in the US has also used its clout to try and silence voices that support Palestinian rights and BDS.
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Exploring the dark net

The dark net is that part of the internet that is hidden from the usual browsers that we use. To get to it, one can use what is called the TOR browser that protects your anonymity by rerouting your information through multiple encrypted sites so that you cannot be traced. TOR stands for The Onion Router and has nothing to do with the satirical website. If you are like me, you have heard about this router and the dark web but have never tried to access either.
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Live by social media, die by social media

A few days ago, I posted about a social media celebrity named Alissa Violet who claimed that she and her boyfriend, supposedly another online celebrity named Ricky “FaZe” Banks, were assaulted and ejected by the security personnel at a Cleveland bar called Barley House over the Thanksgiving weekend. They both posted their accounts, she showing a bleeding lip and a bruise over her eye, and their fans around the nation were up in arms and vowed to take revenge on Barley House, its security personnel, and any other bar patrons whom they felt had wronged their idols. These fans even threatened to come to Cleveland to carry out their threats but it seemed like they limited their attacks to bad Yelp reviews for Barley House and harassing and threatening online and by phone any person whom they could identify.
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The weird world of social media celebrity

The world of online social media influencers seems to be wider and more menacing than celebrities covertly shilling, a phenomenon that I wrote about yesterday. People who have not acquired fame elsewhere in other fields can apparently become purely YouTube and Instagram celebrities with a whole lot of passionate fans who follow the minutiae of their adored one’s lives with almost obsessive devotion. I wrote earlier about this phenomenon in China but it is apparently big here in the US too.
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Being paid to influence others

Businesses have long realized that we are swayed more by the opinions of our friends and neighbors than by advertisements in the media, which is why social media has become so powerful in shaping messages. For some people, this trust apparently also extends to celebrities on social media since their recommendations are also assumed to be disinterested. So a celebrity who recommends something on Twitter is more likely to sway readers than the same celebrity saying the same thing in a commercial. The former is seen as an honest preference while the latter is just an actor reading someone else’s words.
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Edward S. Herman (1925-2017)

He died on November 11, 2017 at the age of 92. He was emeritus professor of finance at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. He was the co-author with Noam Chomsky of that excellent book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988) that I think should be essential reading for anyone interested in politics and the media and which I have referred to many times on this blog. His Wikipedia page provides his biography.
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What is going on with the DNC?

I have never been a fan of Donna Brazile, seeing her as a career political hack who was comfortably well-ensconced in the Democratic neoliberal party establishment (as represented by the Democratic National Committee) and a spokesperson for those policies in the media. She was the very definition of a party apparatchik. Hence I was surprised at the furor that her book has generated and the way that the party establishment has turned against her.
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When the use of stock images misleads

Articles like to use photographs to liven up their appearance. But getting your own photographs is time-consuming and expensive so many publications resort to using stock images from the various sources that provide them and that can be easily searched on to provide one that seems to most closely fit the needs of the article. But Adam Jonson at FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting) has noticed that not enough care seems to go into selecting images and that, for example, a single trope tend to dominate in reports about Iran that perpetuate myths about that country.
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