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  • Fact checkers on crack

    So as not to further hijack the Cartoons and Funnies thread, this thread is first a follow-up on the story about the government providing crack pipes for addicts, which was broached in the C&F thread, https://community.notpolitical.info/...234#post352234

    Then there are those hard-to-miss moments when factual reports of obvious blunders are recontextualized as “mostly false” or “misleading,” in order to spare political officials and their patrons the trouble of defending their unpopular policies. In early February, the Washington Free Beacon reported that the Biden administration was “set to fund the distribution of crack pipes to drug addicts as part of its plan to advance ‘racial equity.’” The report was quickly seized on by conservative commentators and politicians who picked up on the fact that millions of Americans would see such a plan as, on its face, idiotic, and cartoonishly racist, and thus an embarrassment to the White House. In the old days, the revelation might have led to some lower-level bureaucrat stepping forward to fall on his or her sword, or at least admit blame. But times have changed, and now instead of managing public fallout from the gaffe, the advanced guard of the fact-checking bureau can issue official decrees that there never was a gaffe and any suggestions of one are misinformation, while erasing the evidence of contrary views.

    Which is exactly what happened in the case of some bureaucrat’s brilliant plan to hand out free crack pipes to promote racial “equity.” Within days, the fact-checking lobby leaped into action to defend the honor of the White House. Snopes and Politifact both declared the Beacon’s report “mostly false,” while Factcheck.org referred to it as misinformation. The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, Reuters, Forbes, USA Today, and dozens of other members of the media’s fact-checking clusterfuck issued similar verdicts, backed by their brand names and by official-sounding pods at big-name universities.

    What is striking here, aside from the level of unanimity, is that none of the fact-checkers disputed the assertion that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) grant included funding for “safe smoking kits” to be distributed to drug users. Rather, they simply echoed the government’s denial that crack pipes would be included in the kits—a denial made only after the Beacon article was published—and then seized on the fact that not all of the $30 million set aside for the grant would be used to purchase the kits, which the Beacon had never asserted, in order to claim that the entire story was false. In true Stalinoid fashion, Snopes added an editor’s note to its entry explaining that it had changed its rating from “Mostly False” to “Outdated” after HHS “stipulated that federal funding would not be used to include pipes in the safe smoking kits.” Translation: The Beacon’s reporting was essentially accurate all along, and labeling it false was a stalling tactic to buy time for the government to prepare a response that could then be retroactively applied to rewrite the past.

    By putting an official stamp on obvious manipulations of language, the fact-checkers license false and misleading coverage by outlets that playact the quaint 20th-century practice of objective news reporting—calling balls and strikes—while also batting for Team Democrat. The convergence of fact-checking and Democratic Party priorities is not a matter of speculation. The Democratic National Committee calls for establishing a “political misinformation policy” and repeatedly cites the International Fact-Checking Network’s partnerships with tech companies as a model for the party’s national censorship policy.

    Once the fact-checkers issued their professional verdicts, multiple articles appeared that slammed the Beacon’s report while affirming its central claims. The Chicago Tribune decried the “misleading ‘crack pipes’ uproar” in a piece that also acknowledged the “slender glass tube used to smoke crack cocaine and other drugs” are, in fact, “the key part of so-called safe smoking kits” distributed by local groups. But instead of drawing attention to the use of crack pipes for smoking crack—an uncomfortable association freighted with unsavory and potentially racist connotations—the article coaches readers to understand that the “slender tubes” are “an innocuous part of the arsenal” for harm reduction specialists. In its own article on the controversy, The New York Times acknowledged “some harm reduction programs do include sterile pipes—which are used for smoking methamphetamine and fentanyl as well as crack cocaine,” before declaring with utmost seriousness that “nonpartisan fact-checkers have debunked the claim” that the Biden administration “intended to pay for distribution of pipes.”
    Invasion of the Fact-Checkers - Tablet Magazine

    This piece by Jacob Siegel vivisects so-called fact-checkers with a number of recent examples. It begins this way:

    In the past five years, a cadre of fact-checkers has marched through the institutions of journalism and installed itself in the U.S. media as a privatized, quasi-governmental regulatory agency. What’s wrong with facts, you say? Fueled by a panic over misinformation, the fact-checking industry is shifting the media’s primary obligation away from pursuing the truth and toward upholding vague notions of public safety, which it gets to define. In the course of this transformation, journalists are being turned into rent-a-cops whose job is to enforce an official consensus that is treated as a civic good by those who benefit from—and pay for—its protection.

    At Meta—the parent company of Facebook and Instagram—content flagged as false or misleading gets downgraded in the platform’s algorithms so fewer people will see it. Google and Twitter have similar rules to bury posts. In reality, America’s new public-private “Ministry of Truth” mainly serves the interests of the tech platforms and Democratic Party operatives who underwrite and support the fact-checking enterprise. This, in turn, convinces large numbers of normal Americans that the officially sanctioned news product they receive is an ass-covering con job—an attitude that marks many millions of people as potentially dangerous vectors of misinformation, which justifies more censorship, further ratcheting up the public’s cynicism toward the press and the institutional powers it now openly serves. On and on it goes, the distrust and repression feeding off each other, the pressure building up until the system breaks down or explodes.
    The big tech leaders experienced the same vise Bill Gates was once in, when he was threatened with dismemberment unless he started donating to political interests. This:

    t first, Mark Zuckerberg resisted charges that social media policing, or the lack thereof, was responsible for the results of the 2016 election, saying it was “a pretty crazy idea” and that it was “extremely unlikely hoaxes changed the outcome.” But under pressure from leading Democrats including Hillary Clinton, a coordinated push from the party’s halo of nonprofits, and a coup from his own employees, who include some of the Democratic Party’s biggest donors, Zuckerberg buckled.

    On Nov. 17, 2016, a new organization called the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) published an open letter to the beleaguered Facebook CEO. “We would be glad to engage with you about how your editors could spot and debunk fake claims,” the IFCN generously offered on behalf of the letter’s signatories, a group of 20 nominally independent fact-checking organizations grouped under its network. The following month, Facebook announced that the IFCN would be its main partner in a new fact-checking initiative that would vet information—all information—on the world’s largest and most influential social media platform. So who is the IFCN again?

    The IFCN was launched in 2015 as a division of the Poynter Institute, a St. Petersburg, Florida-based media nonprofit that calls itself a “global leader in journalism” and has become a central hub in the sprawling counter-disinformation complex. Poynter’s funding comes from the triumvirate that undergirds the U.S. nonprofit sector: Silicon Valley tech companies, philanthropic organizations with political agendas, and the U.S. government. The nonprofit sector, as it’s euphemistically called, is an immense, labyrinthine engine of ideological and financial activism that was valued at almost $4 trillion in 2019, the overwhelming majority of which is dedicated to “progressive” causes. The IFCN’s initial funding came from the U.S. State Department-backed National Endowment for Democracy, the Omidyar Network, Google, Facebook, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.

    With no formal membership, the IFCN acts as the high body for the dozens of fact-checking organizations grouped under its umbrella that have endorsed its code of principles. According to the organization’s website, its mission is “to bring together the growing community of fact-checkers around the world and advocates of factual information in the global fight against misinformation.”

    The IFCN’s fact-checking operation offers something different to all of the various players who directly and indirectly shape its mission. For government officials, it provides a means to outsource both political messaging and the responsibilities of censorship. For technology companies, it’s a method of exercising control over their own regulators by putting them on the payroll. And for journalists, watching their industry collapse and their status erode as the public turns on them, its steady work in one of the media’s only remaining growth fields, as information regulators.

    The consequences for anyone who resisted the new mandate were serious. Social media companies and newsrooms that did not get with the program and empower the brigades of truthy technocrats were accused of helping Russia, bringing fascism to America, supporting white supremacy, and worse.

    Contrary to the preferred self-image of data scientists, neutrally officiating claims from the sidelines, fact-checkers tend to see their work in salvationist terms. In his final day on the job in 2019, the IFCN’s founding director, Alexios Mantzarlis, published a blog post where he wrote: “fact-checkers are no longer a fresh-faced journalistic reform movement; they are wrinkly arbiters of a take-no-prisoners war for the future of the internet.” Mantzarlis provided a useful overview of their guiding mission, which is to turn back the tide of populism empowered by the internet and restore the hierarchies of knowledge, which, in the technocratic mind, are the proper foundation of liberal societies. Mantzarlis now works at Google as a policy lead.
    Mr. Siegel concludes,
    . . . [T]he convergence of government power with fact-checking is neither a conspiracy nor an accident. A 2018 report from the Columbia Journalism Review offered “lessons for platform-publisher collaborations as Facebook and news outlets team to fight misinformation.” It also offered a warning:

    “If Facebook creates entirely new, immensely powerful, and utterly private fact-checking partnerships with ostensibly public-spirited news organizations, it becomes virtually impossible to know in whose interests and according to which dynamics our public communication systems are operating.”
    Top o' the hat to Newsbusters, Hunter Biden Laptop Revamp Prompts Sharp Piece on 'Invasion of the Fact-Checkers'
    • "Don't underestimate Joe's ability to fuck things up."— Barack Obama.
    • "If these governors won't help, I will use my powers as president and get them out of the way." — Joe Biden, explaining fascism.
    • "Put aside all of these issues of concern about liberties and personal liberties and realize we have a common enemy and that common enemy is the virus." — Dr. Anthony Fauci, misidentifying the common enemy.
    • "Thieves only carry weapons for self-protection and to provide the householder an incentive to cooperate." — Texas State House Rep. Terry Meza, proposing to bar "castle defense" protection for victims of home invasions.
    • "The way I see it, there's always, c'mon, there's always money. It's there." — Elizabeth Warren, explaining socialism.
    • "The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn't originally a climate thing at all.... We really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing." — Saikat Chakrabarti, then AOC's Chief of Staff.
    • "We have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them." — CNN's Don Lemon, showing how to stop demonizing people.

  • #2
    For some reason, I get an image of some right wing operative chuckling about how he suggested adding crack pipes to the package with some humanity plea and they ate it.
    Robert Francis O'Rourke, Democrat, White guy, spent ~78 million to defeat, Ted Cruz, Republican immigrant Dark guy …
    and lost …
    But the Republicans are racist.

    Comment


    • #3
      It's so funny how they always deny what is happening and then simply convince themselves that as long as some journalist lies with them that's it.

      The "reality-based" party indeed.
      "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."

      -John Locke

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Gramps View Post
        For some reason, I get an image of some right wing operative chuckling about how he suggested adding crack pipes to the package with some humanity plea and they ate it.
        I hope you're right.

        Sadly, the point of the lead article is that fact-checking has become the Ministry of Truth.
        • "Don't underestimate Joe's ability to fuck things up."— Barack Obama.
        • "If these governors won't help, I will use my powers as president and get them out of the way." — Joe Biden, explaining fascism.
        • "Put aside all of these issues of concern about liberties and personal liberties and realize we have a common enemy and that common enemy is the virus." — Dr. Anthony Fauci, misidentifying the common enemy.
        • "Thieves only carry weapons for self-protection and to provide the householder an incentive to cooperate." — Texas State House Rep. Terry Meza, proposing to bar "castle defense" protection for victims of home invasions.
        • "The way I see it, there's always, c'mon, there's always money. It's there." — Elizabeth Warren, explaining socialism.
        • "The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn't originally a climate thing at all.... We really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing." — Saikat Chakrabarti, then AOC's Chief of Staff.
        • "We have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them." — CNN's Don Lemon, showing how to stop demonizing people.

        Comment


        • #5
          Update:

          Yes, Safe Smoking Kits Include Free Crack Pipes. We Know Because We Got Them. (freebeacon.com)

          IMG-3374-1_1472x1028-1400x978.jpg

          Crack pipes are distributed in safe-smoking kits up and down the East Coast, raising questions about the Biden administration's assertion that its multimillion-dollar harm reduction grant program wouldn't funnel taxpayer dollars to drug paraphernalia.

          The findings are the result of Washington Free Beacon visits to five harm-reduction organizations and calls to over two dozen more. In fact, every organization we visited—facilities in Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Richmond, Va.—included crack pipes in the kits.

          The kits became the subject of national attention in the wake of a Free Beacon report in February indicating that a $30 million harm-reduction program was set to fund the distribution of free crack pipes in "safe-smoking kits." Pressed on the matter in a Feb. 9 press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki issued a full-throated denial.

          "They were never a part of the kit, it was inaccurate reporting," Psaki said of the pipes. "A safe smoking kit may contain alcohol swabs, lip balm, other materials to promote hygiene and reduce the transmission of diseases."

          While the contents of safe-smoking kits vary from one organization to another—and while those from some organizations may not contain crack pipes—all of the organizations we visited made crack pipes as well as paraphernalia for the use of heroin, cocaine, and crystal methamphetamine readily available without requiring or offering rehabilitation services, suggesting that pipes are included in many if not most of the kits distributed across the country. All of the centers we visited are run by health-focused nonprofits and government agencies—the types of groups eligible to receive funding, starting this month, from the Biden administration's $30 million grant program.
          So, today is lyin' Jen Psaki's last day at the White House. Now she's taking her lyin' self to. . . MSNBC! The shock! ‘Fiery’ Psaki ending tenure as a top White House messenger - 41NBC News | WMGT-DT

          WASHINGTON (AP) — Jen Psaki is leaving as White House press secretary on Friday after having answered reporters’ questions nearly every weekday of the almost 500 days that President Joe Biden has been in office. That makes her a top White House communicator and perhaps the administration’s most public face after only Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

          Her briefings have come to be seen as professional and typically congenial, though they could turn pointed in a hurry.

          Succeeding Psaki is her deputy, Karine Jean-Pierre. She’ll be the first Black woman and openly LGBTQ person to be White House press secretary. Psaki hasn’t denied reports she’s heading to MSBNC.
          So the AP writes here that "her briefings have come to be seen as professional and typically congenial. . . ." Screw "truthful." Move on, folks.
          • "Don't underestimate Joe's ability to fuck things up."— Barack Obama.
          • "If these governors won't help, I will use my powers as president and get them out of the way." — Joe Biden, explaining fascism.
          • "Put aside all of these issues of concern about liberties and personal liberties and realize we have a common enemy and that common enemy is the virus." — Dr. Anthony Fauci, misidentifying the common enemy.
          • "Thieves only carry weapons for self-protection and to provide the householder an incentive to cooperate." — Texas State House Rep. Terry Meza, proposing to bar "castle defense" protection for victims of home invasions.
          • "The way I see it, there's always, c'mon, there's always money. It's there." — Elizabeth Warren, explaining socialism.
          • "The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn't originally a climate thing at all.... We really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing." — Saikat Chakrabarti, then AOC's Chief of Staff.
          • "We have to stop demonizing people and realize the biggest terror threat in this country is white men, most of them radicalized to the right, and we have to start doing something about them." — CNN's Don Lemon, showing how to stop demonizing people.

          Comment


          • #6
            What are those red things used for?
            If it pays, it stays

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Frostbit View Post
              What are those red things used for?
              Rubber mouthpieces, like a cigarette holder. We're expecting junkies who share pipes to remove their personal rubber mouthpiece before passing the pipe, and other junkies to insist on attaching their personal rubber mouthpiece before using the pipe. Because junkies are very health-conscious and capable of delaying gratification in order to avoid bodily fluid-borne pathogens.
              "Think as I think," said a man,
              "Or you are abominably wicked;
              You are a toad."
              And after I had thought of it,
              I said: "I will, then, be a toad." - Stephen Crane

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post

                Rubber mouthpieces, like a cigarette holder. We're expecting junkies who share pipes to remove their personal rubber mouthpiece before passing the pipe, and other junkies to insist on attaching their personal rubber mouthpiece before using the pipe. Because junkies are very health-conscious and capable of delaying gratification in order to avoid bodily fluid-borne pathogens.
                A recent study from the Research Triangle Institute, a North Carolina-based nonprofit research organization, found that among a group of people in California who used opioids, smoking rather than injecting is on the rise.

                Between 2018 and 2020, researchers followed a cohort of 395 people who used opioids. They found that from January to June 2019, 14 percent of the people in their survey reported smoking fentanyl every day over the last month, as opposed to injecting it. Then, between January and June 2020, the number of people smoking had risen to 28 percent.

                People who switched consumption methods described having a more evenly paced high, getting more for their money, and experiencing fewer abscesses and soft tissue infections. They also described decreased stigma, due to fewer and fading scars from injection, which led some to feel more optimistic about the prospect of getting a job.
                Link to why including the crack pipes is a good idea. Helps with the junkie's self esteem as well as making the drug use experience more pleasurable, cost effective, and overall a better experience.

                I think the only real criticism here might be if they are distributing more to undocumented immigrants than to our citizens, don't you?
                Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
                Robert Southwell, S.J.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by phillygirl View Post



                  Link to why including the crack pipes is a good idea. Helps with the junkie's self esteem as well as making the drug use experience more pleasurable, cost effective, and overall a better experience.

                  I think the only real criticism here might be if they are distributing more to undocumented immigrants than to our citizens, don't you?
                  I feel so out-sarcasmed.

                  I liked this part:

                  To whip out a foil on the street and take a hit is not so frowned upon like, [taking out] a needle and taking a shot,” one survey participant said. “It’s making me realize that I’m capable of doing more than just being a junkie.”
                  Good job, that.

                  "Think as I think," said a man,
                  "Or you are abominably wicked;
                  You are a toad."
                  And after I had thought of it,
                  I said: "I will, then, be a toad." - Stephen Crane

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Celeste Chalfonte View Post

                    I feel so out-sarcasmed.
                    It's my most finely honed talent.

                    I liked this part:



                    Good job, that.
                    Yeah. It's not like the guy said he saw a future without drugs. It's that he saw a future with less frowned upon transmission method of his drug use. Yay.

                    It reminds me of one of our custody officers who gives lots of props to parents that have gotten themselves off drugs. Okay, yes, that's a good thing. But the straight and narrow guy with a good job and never been in trouble who has always been a good father gets yelled at because he and his wife have "1st world problems".

                    Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
                    Robert Southwell, S.J.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by phillygirl View Post

                      It's my most finely honed talent.


                      Yeah. It's not like the guy said he saw a future without drugs. It's that he saw a future with less frowned upon transmission method of his drug use. Yay.

                      It reminds me of one of our custody officers who gives lots of props to parents that have gotten themselves off drugs. Okay, yes, that's a good thing. But the straight and narrow guy with a good job and never been in trouble who has always been a good father gets yelled at because he and his wife have "1st world problems".
                      God I hated that bullshit from the courts and DCF. I got arrested and probation for spanking my kids and was scolded and made to pay about $20,000 total and the same Judge and Prosecutor held a party with cash rewards for women who birthed crack-addicted kids. The cash rewards were based on how many weeks per year the women passed drug tests. It was about $100 per week and most got $1000-3000 that year.

                      Add that up. They rewarded drug addicts for being off drugs part of the year.
                      "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."

                      -John Locke

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by scott View Post

                        God I hated that bullshit from the courts and DCF. I got arrested and probation for spanking my kids and was scolded and made to pay about $20,000 total and the same Judge and Prosecutor held a party with cash rewards for women who birthed crack-addicted kids. The cash rewards were based on how many weeks per year the women passed drug tests. It was about $100 per week and most got $1000-3000 that year.

                        Add that up. They rewarded drug addicts for being off drugs part of the year.
                        Jayzus.

                        I'm too old for my job. Yesterday when the hearing officer went off on my client I did get a bit heated. He didn't like that I said "Yes, so my client understands that he has lived a privileged life". Guy jumped down my throat about how he didn't like the word privileged. He didn't like my client client said he felt that his having grown up with sports was a factor in terms of him being able to overcome the obstacles he had faced over the past year. Apparently he doesn't have the right to equate losing his marriage, not seeing his kids, and having to leave the family home in order to get an order to see his kids with being an obstacle which he had to overcome.

                        And yes, the hearing officer is a former D.A. so he hasn't a clue about family law cases, nor has he ever represented a single client in a family law case, but he gets to make the decisions on custody.
                        Not where I breathe, but where I love, I live...
                        Robert Southwell, S.J.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by scott View Post

                          God I hated that bullshit from the courts and DCF. I got arrested and probation for spanking my kids and was scolded and made to pay about $20,000 total and the same Judge and Prosecutor held a party with cash rewards for women who birthed crack-addicted kids. The cash rewards were based on how many weeks per year the women passed drug tests. It was about $100 per week and most got $1000-3000 that year.

                          Add that up. They rewarded drug addicts for being off drugs part of the year.
                          Wow.

                          Mark
                          Race Card: A tool of the intellectually weak and lazy when they cannot counter a logical argument or factual data.

                          "Liberals have to stop insisting that the world is what they want it to be instead of the way it is." - Bill Maher

                          Political correctness is ideological fascism. It’s the antithesis of freedom. Dr. Piper

                          Gender is not a "Social Construct", it is an outgrowth of biological reality.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by phillygirl View Post

                            Jayzus.

                            I'm too old for my job. Yesterday when the hearing officer went off on my client I did get a bit heated. He didn't like that I said "Yes, so my client understands that he has lived a privileged life". Guy jumped down my throat about how he didn't like the word privileged. He didn't like my client client said he felt that his having grown up with sports was a factor in terms of him being able to overcome the obstacles he had faced over the past year. Apparently he doesn't have the right to equate losing his marriage, not seeing his kids, and having to leave the family home in order to get an order to see his kids with being an obstacle which he had to overcome.

                            And yes, the hearing officer is a former D.A. so he hasn't a clue about family law cases, nor has he ever represented a single client in a family law case, but he gets to make the decisions on custody.
                            Yeah these custody cases are bullshit. The social workers who have input? Most of them are nutcases and either don't have kids or have lost their kids as well. The attorneys working for the government? Coke addicts - almost all of them.

                            It's a terrible system.
                            "Faith is nothing but a firm assent of the mind : which, if it be regulated, as is our duty, cannot be afforded to anything but upon good reason, and so cannot be opposite to it."

                            -John Locke

                            Comment

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