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Video: 'Barack Obama' Calls Trump a 'Total and Complete Dipshit'

Why it's getting harder to tell "fake news" from real news

Watch Barack Obama call President Trump a "total and complete dipshit":

Of course, that isn't real. It's a video created by comedian and Academy Award winner Jordan Peele, employing increasingly easy-to-use programs to demonstrate the coming age of nearly seamless "fake news" images.

A couple months ago, when the Reddit user deepfakes first publicized his ability to swap anyone's face into porn, the reaction was swift and mostly univocal: This was a threat to the very universe! As the reliably alarmist Motherboard hyperventilated:

An incredibly easy-to-use application for DIY fake videos—of sex and revenge porn, but also political speeches and whatever else you want—that moves and improves at this pace could have society-changing impacts in the ways we consume media. The combination of powerful, open-source neural network research, our rapidly eroding ability to discern truth from fake news, and the way we spread news through social media has set us up for serious consequences.

Iconic PhotosIconic PhotosWell, no. For starters, the control and manipulation of images and events has been with us forever. The powerful have always been able to do this, going back to the days when leaders would kill people for publishing unauthorized versions of speeches. Contra Walter Benjamin, whose "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" (1936) is one of the most influential essays written in the past century, the ability for more and more of us to detach words and images from the specific time and place of their creation and instantiation is incredibly liberating. The same types of technology that allow us to put a mustache on the Mona Lisa and circulate that image globally also allow people to speak truth as they see it to power.

Reappropriating, misappropriating, decontextualizing, recontextualizing—as all that has become easier and easier over the years, the result has been a wellspring of letting the relatively powerless speak. That was the essential insight of the early scholars of fan fiction, such as the semi-notorious "slash" fiction written by Star Trek fans shortly after the original series was canceled in 1969. Fans started writing stories in which Capt. Kirk and Mr. Spock engaged in sadomasochistic sexual adventures and sell them using the code K/S via newsletters (hence the term slash). As Constance Penley of the University of California at Santa Barbara wrote,

Slash fans do more than "make do" [with mass-produced materials]; they make. Not only have they remade the Star Trek fictional universe to their own desiring ends, they have achieved it by enthusiastically mimicking the technologies of mass-market cultural production, and by constantly debating their own relation...to those technologies.

TimeTimeThat same sort of turn is at work in all sorts of political messaging, too, from lefties such as Shepard Fairey and Robbie Conal to right-wing guerrilla artists such as Sabo. Technology that allows us to create and distribute deepfake videos are simply the latest and greatest methods of letting all sorts of people speak in all sorts of ways.

That isn't to say that the rise of videos like Peele's shouldn't give us pause. In an age of deep fakes, fake news, polarization, and paranoia, we need to become better and better at critically reading media and all sources of information. Two-thirds of us already believe the mainstream media publish a lot of horseshit, which is a good start. Back in the 1990s, as cable news started to proliferate and dictate what we considered news and reality, shows such as The Daily Show arose to help teach us how to read tropes and motifs more critically. Even before that, postmodern TV programs such as Mystery Science Theater 3000, The Simpsons, Beavis and Butt-head, and Space Ghost: Coast To Coast offered weekly lessons in how to consume media critically. They were funny as hell, but by foregrounding the act of interpretation (even or especially by asshats like Beavis and Butt-head) they also gave us a set of very useful tools.

What the Obama vid above and others like it drive home is the need to step up our game. This is one of the main lessons to emerge from those Russian trolls posting ads and dubious info on Facebook, too.

We will never be able to rein in fake news; indeed, we will never even be able to agree on its precise definition. But that doesn't mean we're powerless. Writing recently in The New York Times, University of Maine journalism professor Michael Socolow laid out a tentative program that would help "prevent smart people from spreading dumb ideas." Among his thoughts: Don't share surprising news that doesn't give links to evidence or supporting facts, be skeptical when a story perfectly confirms your most-intensely felt beliefs, and always ask, "Why am I talking?" The way forward is always through empowering individuals to be better filters for themselves, not delegating authority or interpretation to the government or other gatekeeping institutions.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Fans started writing stories in which Capt. Kirk and Mr. Spock engaged in sadomasochistic sexual adventures...

    From my open zipper, I stab at thee.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Fun fact, the term Mary Sue also comes from Star Trek fanfiction.

  • ||

    From my open zipper, I stab at thee.

    Spock says, "Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." Captain Kirk answers, "Or the one."

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Was this the inspiration for Warty Hugeman?

  • Nardz||

    So you're telling me it's possible that Jesus and the devil didn't actually have an arm wrestling contest, during which they discussed the 2016 US presidential election?
    Stop spreading fake news, Nick!

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Sort of. Jesus had a,ready regenerated intto his fourth body and done battle with the Clintons numerous times by the 2016 election. He even thwarted an attempt by Hillary to gain control of the earth when she allied herself with hostile extra terrestrials. Of course, the aliens were here illegally.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    The same types of technology that allow us to put a mustache on the Mona Lisa and circulate that image globally also allow people to speak truth as they see it to power

    Take THAT, 15th-century Italian city-states!

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Italy had it coming.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    They should never have given up the recipe for pizza: we just took what we wanted and then cast them aside, like a celebrity's first wife. This is how Lifetime movies get made.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    I get suckered into watching those Lifetime movies once in a while if the chicks are hot enough. They need to go full skimmed though. It's fristratimg that they never just get naked and lez out on each other.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    The only problem with this comment is that it implies, by going to the trouble to specify, that there may be situations in which it isn't frustrating if they never just get naked and lez out on each other.

  • Hugh Akston||

    and always ask, "Why am I talking?"

    Because I am a miserably lonely social misfit and the comments section of a libertarian blog is the only forum where I can make myself feel better by belittling people I will never meet.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    ^^^ this guy gets it

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Well, all the other commenters.

  • Crusty Juggler||

    Shut up, fag.

  • SIV||

    Crusty gets it

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Joke's on you, Hugh. Your comments do not belittle Crusty. Rather, they embiggen certain parts of him.

  • Mongo||

    DOUBLEFAKE NEWS.

    The Obamas paid Peele (big $, I've heard) to cover for what he was recorded as partially saying which was captured on tape by that poor Indian family who's SUV went into that swollen river in California.

    Obama's mouth is easily spotted as digital but Peele's lips are digital repros mimed by Michael Winslow.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Don't share surprising news that doesn't give links to evidence or supporting facts, be skeptical when a story perfectly confirms your most-intensely felt beliefs, and always ask, "Why am I talking?"

    Yes, and all of you people should get started on that right now.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I know that for me, I'm talking because I have so many funny, funny jokes to share.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Pro tip life hack: recite the words in your head as you type, and you don't have to say them out loud.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I've never been able to get a hang of not saying the words out loud when I read or write.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Well, at least if somebody walked by while you were typing this specific comment, they wouldn't've been confused.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    An incredibly easy-to-use application for DIY fake videos—of sex and revenge porn, but also political speeches and whatever else you want—that moves and improves at this pace could have society-changing impacts in the ways we consume media. The combination of powerful, open-source neural network research, our rapidly eroding ability to discern truth from fake news, and the way we spread news through social media has set us up for serious consequences

    Why, soon we might even be unable to tell who was really with Comrade Stalin at the opening of the new central granary!

  • ||

    Why, soon we might even be unable to tell who was really with Comrade Stalin at the opening of the new central granary!

    As long as we all can agree that Columbus proved the Earth was round, Marie Antoinette let them eat cake, and that Lincoln freed the slaves, we should be OK with whomever was or wasn't with Stalin at the opening of whatever granary.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    As opposed to the slaves' true emancipators, the... ehh, 39th Congress that ratified the 13th Amendment? With Lincoln's intense support?

  • ||

    As opposed to the slaves' true emancipators, the... ehh, 39th Congress that ratified the 13th Amendment? With Lincoln's intense support?

    So we agree that 'Lincoln freed the slaves.' isn't true the same way 'Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.' is true?

    Or, at the very least, if Neil Armstrong suspended habeas corpus, spent several hundred thousand American lives, and indirectly caused the death of millions of newly-minted second class citizens in order to get 90% of the way to the moon, we shouldn't put him up on the same pedestal we put Lincoln.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Lincoln did more than any other one person to see the 13th Amendment ratified, and also issued the Emancipation Proclamation that freed most American slaves by default and struck a blow to the peculiar institution it could never have recovered from.

    So, no: Lincoln did free the slaves.

    But of course, I'm sure they would have been much better off remaining in official bondage for another 40 to 50 years. After all, if the institution of human property had persisted into the 20th century, Jim Crow, the Great Society and the Drug War would never have happened! It would just have gone straight from slavery to social equality and free markets, yup yessiree. No mere temporary delay of inevitable periods of reactionary quasi-slavery followed by vengeful egalitarian reversal alongside cyclical prohibitionist campaigns, thus averting no evils while prolonging a previous one... nope! Just straight out avoidance of all that, in favor of... ehh, another half-century of slavery. Oh, for what might have been!

    Not to mention the lost opportunity for a popcorn-worthy war between the weakened remaining United States and an expansionist CSA strengthened by the absorption of the Caribbean slave countries and determined to take the American West for its own in the 1880s. But hey, you get one war, you lose another, y'know?

  • Cynical Asshole||

    That video's not all that impressive. There's several editing jumps and cuts that are pretty obvious.

  • Mongo||

    Not on Peele's mouth, there ain't....

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    It's a purty mouth for sure.

  • ||

    Not on Peele's mouth, there ain't....

    Nonetheless, I remain unconvinced that it's the real Jordan Peele.

  • Eidde||

    They're each pretending to be the other.

    It's a plot by the Illu...aaack....

  • Agammamon||

    Maybe he died while dictating?

  • ||

    They're each pretending to be the other.

    The comedic stylings of Jordan Peele everybody! That's Mr. Jordan Peele.

  • Mongo||

    Trying to remember the details and can't find it on YewToob but I always loved that commercial from the 90s(!) where Marilyn Monroe is sitting in the theater and her chest bursts the buttons of her blouse.

  • Eidde||

    You mean this video?

  • DenverJ||

    Took me like 5 minutes to find it. Dude, do you even google? It was for Chanel No. 5.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    That's fucking scary.

  • DenverJ||

    A little creepy. It also raises some interesting ethical questions. I mean, we have impersonators, of course, but using the face and voice of a dead person to sell something, or perhaps advocate for certain causes/policies/politicians, seems to me to cross a line.

  • Mongo||

    Good job, DJ!

    They cut out the part where Marilyn calls Barbara Bush a dipshit though.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    They need to do one where Marylin turns into the She Hulk.

  • ||

    "Moving forward, we need to be more vigilant about what we trust from the internet."

    This sounds exactly like something HAL or other predecessor to Skynet would say.

  • Eidde||

  • mtrueman||

    "The way forward is always through empowering individuals to be better filters for themselves, not delegating authority or interpretation to the government or other gatekeeping institutions."

    Now Reason favours net neutrality? Their speaking out against others filtering information for us seems to indicate this.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|4.18.18 @ 6:20PM|#
    "Now Reason favours net neutrality? Their speaking out against others filtering information for us seems to indicate this"

    Nothing in the article or that sentence you quoted indicated favoring price-fixing on the internet.

  • mtrueman||

    It's about the filtering, stupid. It's as though Libertarians aren't happy with Google and Facebook and the like filtering content, they want the ISPs to get in on the act as well. I really don't see what the attraction is.

  • Sevo||

    "It's about the filtering, stupid"
    It's about price-fixing, jackass

  • mtrueman||

    So, you're in favour of filtering and support price fixing. Is that what you're struggling to say?

  • Sevo||

    "So, you're in favour of filtering and support price fixing."

    So you can't read, is that what you're admitting?

  • mtrueman||

    No, dear Sevo, that's not what I'm admitting. I'm merely wondering whether Reason is finally embracing net neutrality, as their warning against letting others do our information filtering seems to indicate. Any other questions?

  • silver.||

    I think the greater concern is allowing the government to specify the definition of equality w.r.t. content providers. Eventually a total asshole will end up in charge, and be able to bend any rules that are in place. Most of us don't have many choices for ISP, but we do have choices, unlike for our regulatory bodies.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|4.18.18 @ 10:02PM|#
    "No, dear Sevo, that's not what I'm admitting. I'm merely wondering whether Reason is finally embracing net neutrality, as their warning against letting others do our information filtering seems to indicate."
    So you're wondering if someone else is stupid enough to embrace your lefty fantasy?

    "Any other questions?"
    Yes. How fucking stupid are you?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Maybe Obama should just sit this one out.

  • JohnKing||

    Instead of 'Dipshit', I would have called Trump ( and Obama, for that matter) a 'Minusaramadad' (meaning: A Definite And Complete Minus).

  • Eman||

    So we won't be in a different situation than people have all been in save the last century or so? I imagine, however fine we won't be, that's not going to be the issue. I totally could see big o saying something like that though, but that's probably just me being racist.

  • DajjaI||

    I'm becoming increasingly convinced that everything is fake.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Among his thoughts: Don't share surprising news that doesn't give links to evidence or supporting facts, be skeptical when a story perfectly confirms your most-intensely felt beliefs, and always ask, "Why am I talking?" The way forward is always through empowering individuals to be better filters for themselves, not delegating authority or interpretation to the government or other gatekeeping institutions."

    I think the scientific model (informed by the fallibilism of Popper) is a good way to go.

    One of the critical components of that thinking is subjecting your ideas to criticism--this forum used to be good for that. The interpretations that survive the most and best criticism are the ones that are most likely to be true.

    That's the way markets, evolution, and science work. If you're trying to approximate truth to news, that's not a bad model.

  • lap83||

    How do we know it's not some old white guy, like Harry Reid, permanently inhabiting Obama's mind?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Someone should also mention the following . . .

    Back before there were search engines and everybody had access to google on their smartphones (not that long ago), the only way to tell whether someone was telling the truth was to go look it up at the library.

    Apart from that, people would rely on being educated, well-read, knowledgeable, etc.

    It used to be that the person at the dinner table, in the bar, wherever, who spoke his facts with the most confidence would typically win the argument. If the news media printed horseshit, hardly anyone knew. You pretty much had to accept what they printed as fact.

    in short, 20-25 years ago, there was probably more fake news than there is now--but there was no way to know. There was no way to check it. The first big fake news story I remember breaking via the internet was the monkey fishing story.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02.....onkey.html

    There's nothing new about fake news. The only thing new is that people are upset that Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I actually think the rise of fake news is good and important, for exactly as you said:

    "in short, 20-25 years ago, there was probably more fake news than there is now--but there was no way to know."

    The fall of faith in the mainstream media is blamed on a rise of fake news, but it's just a rise in awareness that we were often lied to.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "The fall of faith in the mainstream media is blamed on a rise of fake news, but it's just a rise in awareness that we were often lied to.

    Right . . . plus a travesty to blame it on.

    In the UK, they're blaming Brexit on fake news.

    In the US, it's all about Trump winning when he shouldn't have.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I can't tell if you're mocking my point or not.

  • Don't look at me.||

    I question your sincerity in that reply.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Nope. I really can't, I'd love clarification so I can either expand on my point or not.

  • Don't look at me.||

    I guess you have better jokes than I.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I'm not mocking your point at all.

    I'm agreeing with it and adding to it.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Got it.

  • DenverJ||

    Truxit!

  • mtrueman||

    "There's nothing new about fake news."

    Who cares if it's new or not? The worrisome thing is that important irrevocable decisions are made on the basis of false information. It seems that Trump orders attacks on another country based on extremely dubious and unproven allegations of yet another episode of 'weapons of mass destruction' in the middle east. You think Trump bothered with putting the story through the correct Popperian paces before he acted? What about his crack team of highly paid advisers? I doubt it. If the president can't manage to stay on top of this, what about the rest of us schlubs?

  • Ken Shultz||

    You think Trump ordered attacks on Syria because he's a victim of fake news?

  • mtrueman||

    Well, I'm sure he had no trouble swallowing this WMD story. It seems to work every time. I doubt he exercised much skepticism at all. Why he ordered the attacks, I have no idea.

  • Don't look at me.||

    France and Britain were duped as well?

  • Sevo||

    "France and Britain were duped as well?"
    Plus The Guardian? NYT? CBS? Fox News? All of them?

  • Jgalt1975||

    I guess to be fair The Guardian and France weren't duped in 2002-03, but a past 2/3's dupe rate doesn't give me much confidence in that murderer's row's reliability this time.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Well, the same thing happened to the rebels--all at the same time on that Saturday. No question, he could be lied to, but . . . um . . . I think you're going way out on a limb again as usual.

    It's one thing to say that the American people are being fooled. Quite another to suggest that the president is foolish for believing his intelligence services.

    No doubt. They could be wrong.

    We live in a world of uncertainty. Nothing is absolutely certain. Once again, get you some fallibilism. You need it really bad.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallibilism

  • Sevo||

    Ken Shultz|4.18.18 @ 10:11PM|#
    "...I think you're going way out on a limb again as usual...."

    Doesn't take long or a lot of thought; as you mention, we have tons of data now available.
    A search "syrian 2018 chemical attack debunked" will give you tons of hits by sources normally at each others' throats, all agreeing that, yep, he did that.
    Those actually debunking are web sites for your neighborhood Maoist organizations, the "US IS THE WORLD'S WORST IMPERIALIST!!!" sites, and one that would be humorous if not associated with so many dead: a "chem poisoning expert" claims they all died from oxygen starvation in the basements...
    Pathetic.

  • Sevo||

    "Well, I'm sure he had no trouble swallowing this WMD story"

    Do you have any evidence that it didn't happen?

  • mtrueman||

    "Do you have any evidence that it didn't happen?"

    Does that make it true if I don't? Something tells me you don't really get this Popper business, do you?

  • Sevo||

    "Does that make it true if I don't? Something tells me you don't really get this Popper business, do you?"

    Not really a fair point, but let's try again:
    I'm not asking you to prove something didn't happen. I'm asking if you have any evidence that the deaths were caused by other than what is claimed.
    So, do you want an honest engagement, or are you going to be a fucking imbecile again?

  • mtrueman||

    " I'm asking if you have any evidence that the deaths were caused by other than what is claimed."

    You expect too much of me. I'm not a pathologist, and I haven't been to Syria or examined the bodies. What evidence are you expecting me to produce?

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|4.18.18 @ 11:06PM|#
    "You expect too much of me. I'm not a pathologist, and I haven't been to Syria or examined the bodies. What evidence are you expecting me to produce?"

    Not at all. I expect you are, as you always have been, a bullshitter, lacking the least bit of evidence to support your bullshit.
    Fuck off.

  • mtrueman||

    "Fuck off."

    Popper can be difficult, I grant you.

  • Texasmotiv||

    Trueman, the point is that you seem to have a flimsier position than several news orgs and the various national intelligence apparatuses that seem to lean toward the "Assad did it" position. I'm not saying your wrong, but if you want to convince anyone other than yourself some proof would be helpful.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I'm curious if you think this is new is all. Because the problem of acting with insufficient information is the human condition. And probably one that is LESS than any other time in human history.

  • mtrueman||

    The internet is new. It didn't really get off the ground until the 1990s.

    " Because the problem of acting with insufficient information is the human condition."

    Insufficient information is not the problem. When we're dealing with insufficient information, the impetus is to gather more. Which is a good thing. The problem, as I stated early, is acting on false information. This can lead to bad outcomes.

  • Sevo||

    "The problem, as I stated early, is acting on false information. This can lead to bad outcomes."

    Yes, so you shouldn't do that.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    And false information is not new either.

  • mtrueman||

    "And false information is not new either."

    Even the best used cars are not new either. What's your point?

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""The problem, as I stated early, is acting on false information. This can lead to bad outcomes.""

    Sure it can. Acting on wrong information can also lead to bad outcomes. But how do we know when it's false info, or wrong info?

  • mtrueman||

    "But how do we know when it's false info, or wrong info?"

    How indeed. All I can tell you it takes precious time and effort, commodities that could be put to other use.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Who cares if it's new or not? The worrisome thing is that important irrevocable decisions are made on the basis of false information.

    Uncertainty is the state of our existence. One of the great things about markets is that they make otherwise ignorant and foolish people behave as if they had knowledge they do not posses--in the face of uncertainty.

    Birds don't fly south for the winter because of their certainty about climate, weather patterns, navigation, aviation, and tailwinds. They have no knowledge at all. And yet amid the circumstances of their stupidity (much less uncertainty), they engage in exactly the behaviors that cause their species to flourish.

    Only central planners need worry that their decisions are made in the face of uncertainty. Jesus, two more seconds, and you'd have had me quoting Adam Smith like you've never heard it before. You are familiar with the idea that idiots pursuing their own interests (as they see fit) outperform experts guiding their behavior with misplaced certainty, right?

  • mtrueman||

    Where the hell do you get off calling birds stupid? They were utilizing wind producing differences in air temperature to save their energy use eons before humans caught on to the potential. And we still have no idea how they manage to navigate the globe. Watch wild birds if you want to appreciate them. Bird watching is one hobby that has never disappointed me.

    "Only central planners need worry that their decisions are made in the face of uncertainty."

    Central planners have their fingers on the Nuclear Button. Like it or not, we all have a stake in their decisions.

  • Sevo||

    "Central planners have their fingers on the Nuclear Button. Like it or not, we all have a stake in their decisions."

    Head right on down that rabbit hole:
    You are going to rely on the self-same "central planners" to decide what we can read? The ones too stupid to figure out what to do?
    How stupid are *you*?

  • mtrueman||

    "You are going to rely on the self-same "central planners" to decide what we can read? "

    No, I want my internet information unfiltered. It's you who are calling on others to decide what you can read.

    "How stupid are *you*?"

    You should know the answer to that by now. Why do you bother asking me?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "They were utilizing wind producing differences in air temperature to save their energy use eons before humans caught on to the potential."

    You know what's ingenious? The way the iron in hemoglobin bonds with oxygen to distribute oxygen to the cells in the body. RBCs pulling that off--without even a cell nucleus much less a brain! They must be the smartest organisms alive. Why RBCs mastered the intricacies of chemistry millions of years before the rest of us even knew that chemistry existed!

    Either than or it has nothing to do with knowledge or information or facts at all. It's the rules of the market, political economy, the path of least resistance, this is what made red blood corpuscles evolve the way they did--to do what they do--without any perfect knowledge or precise news to guide them.

    Market systems make the participants seem as if they're smarter than they are. They behave as if they have knowledge they cannot possess.

    You're not a creationist, are you? We don't need a central planner with perfect information.

  • mtrueman||

    I don't agree that iron bonding with oxygen is an indication of intelligence in iron, no matter how subtle the process may be. Unlike birds, humans and other creatures capable of intelligent behaviour, iron has no intent or will and makes no choices.

    "We don't need a central planner with perfect information"

    I'm not suggesting we do. I'm saying that the actions of our central planners are important and impact our lives. And further,, that we should be doubly concerned when their decisions (or anyone else's) are based on false information. This is especially true during our age of intense networked connectivity.

  • mtrueman||

    "The only thing new is that people are upset that Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump."

    There's more to the past 25 years than Hilary Clinton. There's the rise of networked computers, which has resulted in a more connected, complex world. When our channels of communication are filled with false stories, that should be something to concern us.

  • Sevo||

    "When our channels of communication are filled with false stories, that should be something to concern us."

    As mentioned above, our "channels" have been filled with fake new since the concept of news was accepted. Somehow, we muddled through, mostly by not relying on self-important imbeciles to choose what the rest of us read, and applying critical thought to the input.

  • mtrueman||

    " by not relying on self-important imbeciles to choose what the rest of us read, and applying critical thought to the input."

    So now you are for net neutrality. I thought you favoured others filtering the information you received over the net.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    What do you think Net Neutrality is? Give it to us in your own words.

  • DenverJ||

    I think it means the internet didn't take sides in WWII.

  • Don't look at me.||

    No, it's painted in a bland color.

  • Sevo||

    Beige? Is that what you're saying?

  • mtrueman||

    "What do you think Net Neutrality is? Give it to us in your own words."

    Refusing to let ISPs filter or block the content accessible to the end user. Isn't that your take, as well?

  • Sevo||

    "Refusing to let ISPs filter or block the content accessible to the end user. Isn't that your take, as well?"

    Nothing in the mis-named N-N has anything at all to do with that. Nothing. There is no requirement that any ISP keep from "censoring"(*) anything at all; the requirement is that they charge the same for all deliveries.
    Fucking imbecile...
    (*) No one, but the government, can "censor"; it required prevention of communication through coercion, and the government holds the monopoly on coercion.

  • DenverJ||

    I believe it did have some provisions saying that IPs couldn't filter any legal content. For instance, xfinity couldn't block Netflix because it competes with xfinity's comcast.

  • Sevo||

    "I believe it did have some provisions saying that IPs couldn't filter any legal content. For instance, xfinity couldn't block Netflix because it competes with xfinity's comcast."

    So they prohibited what no one would do anyway, in the hopes of convincing fools like trueman that there was some value there.

  • mtrueman||

    "the requirement is that they charge the same for all deliveries."

    There are plenty of ISPs which manage to provide reasonably priced super fast internet service without any filtering, any blocking. If your ISP can't manage this, you should switch.

  • silver.||

    "There are plenty of ISPs which manage to provide reasonably priced super fast internet service without any filtering, any blocking. If your ISP can't manage this, you should switch."

    This is actually a decent argument against some of the rules in NN. Basically if all ISPs have to charge the same amount for content, it leaves no leeway for them to create niche plans that might enable them to build a large customer base. Time Warner had a $20 5mbps plan that my grandmother used for years that was unacceptable for any kind of streaming, but I loved it. She would've gotten nothing from a $70 100mbit symmetrical plan except a lighter wallet. I completely understand the risk associated with letting institutions set data limits on certain sites, but the rules as written are problematic. Features like unlimited Spotify streaming run afoul of NN rules as the carrier is showing favoritism to a certain content provider. If an ISP can make a plan with throttles on bandwidth-heavy streaming services, they can provide a more competitive product that would check more boxes for certain customers.

    We should, socially, oppose immoral business practices that may result from their freedom to innovate (just as we've screamed for years about Comcast's illegal (due to not being in the customer contract) bandwidth limits and throttling of bittorrent traffic).

  • Sevo||

    "We should, socially, oppose immoral business practices that may result from their freedom to innovate (just as we've screamed for years about Comcast's illegal (due to not being in the customer contract) bandwidth limits and throttling of bittorrent traffic)."

    Uh, 'not being in the customer contract'?
    Word-for-word; what mean?

  • Sevo||

    silver.|4.18.18 @ 11:32PM|#
    "We should, socially, oppose immoral business practices that may result from their freedom to innovate (just as we've screamed for years about Comcast's illegal (due to not being in the customer contract) bandwidth limits and throttling of bittorrent traffic)."

    To be clear here, I'm calling bullshit.
    I want to see, word-for-word, how this is illegal.

  • silver.||

    "To be clear here, I'm calling bullshit.
    I want to see, word-for-word, how this is illegal."

    If you know something I don't feel free to share. I'm no expert in contract law.

    Wired residential connections are reasonably expected to be unlimited, and with courts ruling that terms of service agreements are too obtuse, wouldn't it be reasonable to expect laymen to think there were no data caps? I don't know if Comcast had associated legal problems, and I don't necessarily think they should've. The outrage was enough to fix it. That was my point.

  • mtrueman||

    "they can provide a more competitive product that would check more boxes for certain customers."

    In my perfect world they provide a better service by upgrading their infrastructure to cope with heavier traffic. We should if anything be trying to expand the internet economy, not disincentivize internet use by penalizing users with extra charges.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|4.18.18 @ 11:14PM|#
    "There are plenty of ISPs which manage to provide reasonably priced super fast internet service without any filtering, any blocking. If your ISP can't manage this, you should switch."

    So now you're arguing there is no need for the bogus "N-N"? That the market is doing just fine without government price-fixing?
    Who are you and what did you do with the imbecile?

  • mtrueman||

    "Who are you and what did you do with the imbecile?"

    Yes.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""Refusing to let ISPs filter or block the content accessible to the end user. Isn't that your take, as well?""

    Ahh, if it was that simple it would have been a one page piece of legislation.

  • Don't look at me.||

    Unrelated.

  • Sevo||

    "So now you are for net neutrality."

    I'm sure there's a remedial reading class somewhere near you; you should look it up.
    "Net Neutrality" = government price fixing.
    Try reading that several times; perhaps it will sink in.

  • mtrueman||

    Equal means the same. They are not the same thing. Net neutrality means that ISPs can't discriminate against certain types of information passing through the network. They are neutral in other words. I don't understand where you get government price fixing into the equation. It doesn't even mention the net, or how information is to be treated. It's an empty slogan that doesn't add anything meaningful.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|4.18.18 @ 10:56PM|#
    "Equal means the same."
    Yes. Net neutrality is the same as government price fixing. Again, read that several times, perhap even you might understand.

    "Net neutrality means that ISPs can't discriminate against certain types of information passing through the network."
    It means they cannot charge different rates for different services. This is "discrimination" such as the "discrimination" groceries exercise when they charge $5 for the 2# package and $10 for the 4# package.

    "They are neutral in other words. I don't understand where you get government price fixing into the equation. It doesn't even mention the net, or how information is to be treated. It's an empty slogan that doesn't add anything meaningful."
    No, they (what ever "they is) are not "neutral"; "they" are government rules, enforceable by coercion, requiring all ISPs to fix prices.
    Even a caveman can get it; give it a try.

  • mtrueman||

    No, they (what ever "they is) are not "neutral"; "they" are government rules, enforceable by coercion, requiring all ISPs to fix price"

    If you want to write the ISPs a cheque for the money you figure you owe them, go ahead. The government you natter on about so much won't give a toss.

  • Sevo||

    mtrueman|4.19.18 @ 11:12AM|#
    "If you want to write the ISPs a cheque for the money you figure you owe them, go ahead. The government you natter on about so much won't give a toss."

    If you want to post something that isn't indicative of a room-temp IQ, go ahead.
    Fucking imbecile...

  • Variant||

    This.

    Pretty surprised to see a purportedly Libertarian site like Reason hand-wringing over "fake news" as if it's some sort of new problem (it isn't) and that there needs to be some government driven solution for it.

    We are far better positioned today than ever in history to (a) be aware of fake news and (b) to do research on our own to uncover it and assess for ourselves.

    "Solutions" are just thinly disguised veils to allow some elite group of unelected bureaucrats filter and disseminate information to us they think is legitimate.

  • Sevo||

    Variant|4.18.18 @ 10:58PM|#
    "...and that there needs to be some government driven solution for it...."

    Reading comprehension fail; never even hinted at.

  • Sevo is my bitch||

    Shut up before I slap you around!

  • Ken Shultz||

    It strikes me that a lot of this question about whether Assad's troops really perpetrated a chemical attack is a bit like I was noting last week--about how you have to believe certain facts in order to be a true believer in something these days.

    Like I said last week, there was a thread over at VC where people were insisting that AR-15s are better for deer hunting than purpose built deer hunting rifles. It wasn't enough for me to support their right to buy an AR-15 just because they want one--no, in order to be a true believer in the Second Amendment, I have to believe that AR-15s are superior to purpose built deer hunting rifles, too?

    What does that have to do with this thread?

    It's okay to be against Trump's use of military force--even if Assad used chemical weapons. Because you're against the president violating the Constitution, because you're against using the military this way even if the president had a congressional authorization, because you're against any of our involvement in Syria at all . . . ?

    Because you're against attacking Syria, you do NOT have to pretend that the chemical attack was a hoax.

    This is how people go off the edge.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I guess that's the essence of the fake news problem.

    The news makes facts seem more important than they are.

    Even if gun control saves lives, I prefer more freedom anyway.

    Even if Saddam Hussein has a stockpile of weaponized anthrax rolling around in mobile WMD labs, I oppose invading and occupying Iraq anyway.

    If your position doesn't change based on the "facts" you're disputing, it's a good indication that the "facts" you're disputing probably aren't the crux of the matter.

    Another example--if you're not willing to sacrifice your standard of living to save the polar bears, then arguing with people over the climate change data is probably a pointless exercise. You don't need to dispute climate change data in order to oppose socialist and authoritarian solutions.

    It's all the same thing.

    When you see people screaming about fake news, there's probably some information there that's getting blown way out of proportion in terms of its importance.

  • DenverJ||

    And the polar bear thing is more fake news- polar bear populations aren't down.

  • Sevo||

    "And the polar bear thing is more fake news- polar bear populations aren't down."

    If you VERY CAREFULLY select a sub-species and equally pick a baseline, why, you can show bear populations are declining!
    By the same procedures, you can show that, well, Tesla is profitable!

  • Sevo is my bitch||

    It is not that difficult, Nick.

    then again, this was a lame effort on your part to insinuate that Obama has shown he is not above these sort of remarks.

  • pemaintoto||

    Jadi kita tidak akan berada dalam situasi yang berbeda daripada orang-orang semuanya telah menyelamatkan abad terakhir atau lebih? Saya membayangkan, betapapun baiknya kita tidak akan, itu tidak akan menjadi masalah. Aku benar-benar bisa melihat besar mengatakan sesuatu seperti itu, tapi itu mungkin hanya aku yang rasis.

  • Eidde||

    Quit summoning Cthulhu, you rascal.

  • Eidde||

    Google Translate translates from Filipino: "So we will not be in a different situation than people have all saved the last century or so? I imagine, no matter how good we will not be, it will not be a problem. I can really see the big saying something like that, but it's probably just me who is racist."

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    Understood completely that this is Fake Block Yomomma. But if Fake Block Yomomma is saying what Real Block Yomomma is thinking, does it really matter that much?

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    In the shouty and rancid parts of social media that churn out rancid outrage clickbait and searing, libelous ad hom memes, there are already posts such as "PROOF LIBERTARIANS ARE STUPID AND RACIST: THEY THOUGHT OBAMA REALLY SAID THIS!", from kneejerkers who only read the title of the article.

    This might be "fake news" in itself because I attempt to avoid that noise like it was smallpox and thus am only speculating, which is pointless. I could spin it as attempting to make a point about the irony of such bla bla bla- it's not gonna fly.

    I used to watch the kneejerk outrage happen to people in the office. Those who exclaim "oh my god", and read headlines aloud from the HuffingtonPravda, and the Guardian to their coworkers with an air of extreme disgust. A particularly intense one involved one of those agit-prop provo artists from Youtube but the story was billed something like "MAN THROWN OFF FLIGHT FOR SPEAKING ARABIC", and of course the righteous indignation spread like a fire until on the odd occasion, yours truly was that guy. I respect my coworkers and fortunately for me these were reasonable people who respected me too, so a calm and productive dialogue was achieved, but it illustrated how easily such fire spreads even in otherwise reasonable people.

  • Azathoth!!||

    The problem we have with this is the problem we have with everything.

    People mean vastly different things when they use the term 'fake news'.

    If you're a member of the media(Reason writers included) 'fake news' is any news that exposes the mountain of lies, misrepresentations, questionable 'facts', opinions, and other babble exuded as truth to get your partisan point ingrained in the public.

    If a member of the media says 'fake news', it's best to treat that news as completely true until proven otherwise.

    If you're Donald Trump, 'fake news' is anything that disagrees with the image you're currently putting forth. Or things that agree perfectly, but you don't want anyone to know.

    If Trump says 'fake news' it can mean literally anything.

    If you're a leftist, 'fake news' is the entirety of all factual information extant.

    If you're a Republican, 'fake news ' is the newest term that causes you to grovel at the feet of the left, begging forgiveness and offering capitulation.

    If you're on the right, 'fake news' is the mountain of lies, misrepresentations, questionable 'facts', opinions, and other babble exuded as truth by those dedicated to pushing the agenda of the left.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    If you're a leftist, 'fake news' is the entirety of all factual information extant.

    It takes a striking lack of self-awareness for conservatives -- whose electoral coalition relies on superstition -- to complain about liberals' relationship with reality.

    Choose reason. Every time. Especially over sacred ignorance and dogmatic intolerance.

    Most especially if you are older than 12 or so. By then, childhood indoctrination fades as an excuse for backwardness, bigotry, and believing that fairy tales are true. By ostensible adulthood, it is no excuse.

    Choose reason. Every time. Be an adult.

    Or, at least, try.

  • Pat001||

    Seeing hasn't been believing since Adobe Photoshop was introduced in 1990.

  • Verse183||

    Guys, "mirror principle" anyone calling another a "name" is reflecting what they see in the mirror. Think about it....it is true. Name calling may or may not be accurate about the one being called the name, but 100% of the time it is accurate about the name caller. Whether it be this story or any other story, this is a universal truth principle few grasp which is why getting caught up in name calling is not a good thing, for it reveals your soul!

  • CircuitGuy||

    I wish I could say, "Sure the technology exists, but no one at the presidential level is going to engage in that kind of childish name-calling against his opponents." I wish I could say that.

  • prediksifajar||

    prediksi bocoran togel

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