Closing Facebook and LinkedIn accounts

Yesterday I closed my Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. I got both accounts a long time ago but never actively used either of them in the sense that I never posted any content on them. They were just passive accounts that others used to tell me what they were doing, which most of the time was of no interest to me. I had been pondering cutting ties for a long time but never got around to it. So while my closing of my Facebook account was not out of anger at the recent disclosures about its practices, I don’t mind if the company thinks that is the reason for closing it.
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Is Twitter a get-out-of-jail free card now?

The Atlantic magazine last month hired Kevin Williamson, formerly of the conservative National Review, as a columnist. I have long been aware of Williamson’s horrible views and was shocked that a supposedly liberal magazine would hire him but Goldberg has pretty conservative views too. For example, he was an enthusiastic cheerleader for the Iraq war.
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John Oliver on the Sinclair Broadcasting propaganda machine

While much attention has focused on Fox News as a purveyor of propaganda and falsehoods in the service of Donald Trump and the people he represents, less attention has been paid to a news company that has a much broader reach in the country and that is Sinclair Broadcasting, the owner of many local radio and TV stations.

In this clip, John Oliver shows how local newscasters at Sinclair stations are tightly controlled by the owners in a way that would make the leader of any totalitarian nation envious.

Laura Ingraham loses advertisers, goes on ‘vacation’

Fox News host Laura Ingraham’s shtick is to bully and smear and she tried to do this to David Hogg, one of the high school survivors of the Parkland shooting, but found that young people are not pushovers for her tactics. Hogg responded by calling advertisers to boycott her show. When about a dozen of them did so, Ingraham tried to mend the damage by issuing an apology to Hogg “in the spirit of Holy Week”, a weird invoking of religion that not only did not stem the fleeing of advertisers but also prompted widespread mockery.
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Cambridge Analytica and Facebook exposed

The British firm Cambridge Analytica has been in the news recently about its role in influencing elections in various countries around the world. It specializes in what is known as microtargeting. This is where it gathers up all manner of information about individuals and creates profiles that suggest how they can be motivated in a particular way, using targeted messaging aimed at them to trigger their fears about an opponent. While much of this can be considered legitimate even if creepy, what has been revealed is that the company also produces false ‘news’ items that become viral and has engaged in illegal activities on behalf of its clients.
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CBS News fawns over despotic Saudi prince

You have got to hand it to the Saudi Arabian regime. They have figured out how to get really good press in the US despite presiding over one of the most appalling governments in the world when it comes to both domestic and foreign policies. They have realized that as long as they are supportive of US and Israeli goals in the Middle East, the US media will have an immediate bias in their favor that will cause them to find any reason to ignore their appalling record, such as the horrendous amount of suffering they are causing to the people of Yemen, their breeding of extremist Islamic ideology, and their appalling record of human rights at home.
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A refreshing self-examination by National Geographic

I was never a regular reader or subscriber to the National Geographic magazine but it is famous for its photograph-filled articles from all over the world. But it has faced charges that its portrayal of many countries and its peoples were at best condescending and at worst racist, reinforcing stereotypes of people who did not conform to western standards of looks and living as being somehow inferior. It was particularly famous among schoolboys in Sri Lanka as the place to see photographs of bare-breasted women, and the fact that they were exclusively of color from the developing world was a subliminal message.
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Exposing the bogus ‘viewpoint diversity’ of the New York Times

The regular columnists on the editorial pages of the New York Times are people who range from centrists to right-wingers. In particular, the paper has always taken a strongly pro-Israel and anti-Palestinian stance. Glenn Greenwald takes apart the bogus claims of that newspaper that it seeks viewpoint diversity in its editorial pages by showing how its recent hires have gone in the opposite direction, especially with the hiring of Brett Stephens and Bari Weiss, the latter being pretty much a propagandist for Israel who has long been on a crusade to suppress any criticisms of that country’s atrocious treatment of Palestinians.
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The reality of reality shows

We all know that so-called ‘reality shows’ are anything but, that they are as spontaneous as professional wrestling. But we never get to go behind the scenes to see what actually goes on because all the contestants are required to sign extremely restrictive and punitive non-disclosure agreements. Jessie Glenn, however, can write of her experience of being a contestant on the reality cooking show Master Chef with Gordon Ramsay because she did not send back the signed contract as she was expected to before being signed on, but the producers of the show seemed to have not noticed its absence. So she spills the beans and it is pretty ugly.
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