Tag Archives: Washington Post

Equifax Hack Raises Major Questions of Consumer Privacy | Sep 9 2017

Equifax finally responds to swirling concerns over consumers’ legal rights

|| Washington Post

Update: Equifax issued a statement Friday evening. “In response to consumer inquiries, we have made it clear that the arbitration clause and class action waiver included in the Equifax and TrustedID Premier terms of use does not apply to this cybersecurity incident,” the company said.

Sharp-eyed social media users have combed through the Equifax data breach site’s fine print — and found what they argue is a red flag.

Buried in the terms of service is language that appears to bar those who enroll in an Equifax credit monitoring program from participating in any class-action lawsuits that may arise from the incident. Here’s the relevant passage of the terms of service:

AGREEMENT TO RESOLVE ALL DISPUTES BY BINDING INDIVIDUAL ARBITRATION. PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE SECTION CAREFULLY BECAUSE IT AFFECTS YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS BY REQUIRING ARBITRATION OF DISPUTES (EXCEPT AS SET FORTH BELOW) AND A WAIVER OF THE ABILITY TO BRING OR PARTICIPATE IN A CLASS ACTION, CLASS ARBITRATION, OR OTHER REPRESENTATIVE ACTION. ARBITRATION PROVIDES A QUICK AND COST EFFECTIVE MECHANISM FOR RESOLVING DISPUTES, BUT YOU SHOULD BE AWARE THAT IT ALSO LIMITS YOUR RIGHTS TO DISCOVERY AND APPEAL.

This language is commonly known in the industry as an “arbitration clause.” In theory, arbitration clauses are meant to streamline the amount of work that’s dumped onto the court system. But the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau concluded in the summer arbitration that clauses do more harm to consumers than good — and the agency put in place a rule to ban them.

“In practice, companies use these clauses to bar groups of consumers from joining to seek justice by vindicating their legal right,” Richard Cordray, the CFPB’s director, told reporters in July, according to my colleague Jonnelle Marte.

Here’s a further look into why the language raised concerns.

Why is arbitration a big deal?

There is already at least one class-action suit brewing against Equifax. Arbitration clauses make it hard if not impossible for consumers to join such suits. Arbitration is weaker than class-action suits, critics say, because it limits consumers’ ability to find facts to support their case, to appeal decisions or to present their case before a jury.

Friday afternoon, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman took aim at Equifax’s arbitration clause, tweeting his staff has contacted the company urging it to remove that part of the fine print.

“This language is unacceptable and unenforceable,” the state’s top lawyer said in his tweet. Minutes later, Schneiderman’s office announced a formal probe into the Equifax breach. In a release, the state attorney general’s office said Schneiderman had sent a letter to Equifax asking for more information. Among the questions were whether any consumer information has found its way to the “black market,” according to a person familiar with the investigation.

A spokesperson for Schneiderman declined to comment on whether officials were investigating the sale of company stock by Equifax executives before the discovery of the hack.

So should I register with the Equifax site, or not?

It’s up to you, but you should know going into the process what you’re signing up for. Equifax issued a statement Friday evening apologizing for consumers’ inconvenience and said the arbitration clause and class-action waiver “does not apply to this cybersecurity incident.”

…Continue reading more @ https://www.washingtonpost.com

 

Were You Hit By The Equifax Security Breach?

|| Refinery 29

“The three credit reporting agencies collect a vast array of personal data from consumers to calculate credit scores, which can determine an individual’s loan-worthiness or the terms of a loan. At a minimum, the accrued information includes Social Security numbers and credit card information that would be nerve-wracking to have stolen.

Yesterday, this information from as many as 143 million people in the U.S. — about 44% of the population — was leaked after a cybersecurity breach of Equifax’s database.
“The information accessed primarily includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. In addition, credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers, were accessed,” the firm said in a statement. “As part of its investigation of this application vulnerability, Equifax also identified unauthorized access to limited personal information for certain U.K. and Canadian residents.”
Equifax says the breach occurred from mid-May through July 2017, and they urge consumers to “check potential impact” at a dedicated website, which you can do here. They’ve also opened a call center line (which will be open on weekends), and recommend that people with questions advises people who are worried about their information being exposed to consider placing a temporary fraud alert on their credit report for now.”
…Continue reading more @ Refinery29.com

Pakistani Democrat Congressional IT Worker Awan Arrested Trying to Flee | July 25, 2017

WASSERMAN-SCHULTZ IT AIDE ARRESTED AT DULLES AIRPORT WHILE ATTEMPTING TO FLEE COUNTRY

|| InfoWars

“Just a day after reports emerged that the FBI had seized a number of “smashed hard drives” and other computer equipment from the residence Imran Awan, the former IT aide of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, we learn that Awan has been captured at the Dulles airport while attempted to flee the country. According to Fox News, Awan has been charged with bank fraud.

For those who have managed to avoid this story, which wouldn’t be difficult given that the mainstream media has made every attempt to ignore it, the Pakistani-born brothers Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan are at the center of a criminal investigation by U.S. Capital Hill Police and the FBI. Up until now, allegations of wrong doing have varied from simply overcharging taxpayers for congressional IT equipment to blackmailing members of Congress with secrets captured from the emails of their Democrat employers.”

…Continue reading more @ Infowars

 

Awan Brothers: Wasserman Schultz’s IT Aide Arrested Trying To Flee The Country

|| True Pundit

“Florida Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s right-hand information technology (IT) aide was arrested attempting to leave the country just a few hours after The Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group revealed that he is the target of an FBI investigation.

The employees had wired $283,000 from a House office building to two individuals in Pakistan, and carried $12,000 in cash on him at the airport.

“On January 18, 2017 at 12:09 pm, an international wire transfer request form was submitted [at the Congressional Federal Credit Union] at the Longworth House Office Building in the District of Columbia, in the amount of $283,000.00, to two individuals in Faisalabad, Pakistan,” according to a 10-page affidavit obtained by TheDCNF.

Imran Awan, a Pakistani-born IT aide, had access to all emails and files of dozens of members of Congress, as well as the password to the iPad that Wasserman Schultz used for Democratic National Committee business before she resigned as its head in July 2016. He was apprehended while attempting to flee the U.S., Fox News first reported.

Soon after Imran began working for Wasserman Schultz in 2005, four of his relatives appeared on the payroll of other Democrats — many from Wasserman Schultz’s home state of Florida — at inflated salaries, but Democratic staffers said they were rarely seen at work. They collected $4 million in total.

House authorities told members in February that Awan and his relatives were suspects in a criminal investigation into theft and IT abuses, and they were banned from the Capitol network.

Wasserman Schultz has refused to fire Awan, despite being a known criminal suspect in a cybersecurity probe for months, and has blocked Capitol Police from searching a laptop they confiscated because it was tied to Awan.

TheDCNF reported Sunday night that the FBI had joined the investigation and seized smashed hard drives from Awan’s home. The next day, the FBI apprehended him at Dulles Airport after noticing that he had purchased a ticket to Pakistan, routed through Qutar.

The affidavit says he was charged with bank fraud due to a mortgage scheme, which was one of several financial schemes TheDCNF has detailed. It appears to be a placeholder for future charges, spurred because of the attempt to leave the country, and does not mention his work for Congress, which is the investigation’s primary focus.

As TheDCNF has reported, the Awans own numerous rental properties that often have multiple mortgages taken out on them, and they have told renters they want payments in untraceable ways. The charging documents say Imran’s wife Hina Alvi, who also made $165,000 working for House Democrats, took out a second mortgage against a house from the Congressional Federal Credit Union by falsely claiming it was her “principal residence” and that she will “occupy” the property, and also fraudulently reported no rental income on her taxes.

A renter told the FBI “they paid approximately $2,000 per month for rent and that the rent check was written to Suriaya Begum. Based on information and belief, I know that Begum is Alvia’s mother,” an FBI agent wrote.

The agent also said Imran appears to have applied for the loan in his wife’s name.

Democratic members of Congress, including Rep. Gregory Meeks of New York, have suggested that police had framed the Pakistani-born brothers out of Islamophobia. Yet his own stepmother, a devout Muslim, filed court documents accusing him of using high-tech devices to wiretap her and extorting her (see p. 23 of court documents in that case). A dozen people who have dealt with Imran painted a picture in interviews with TheDCNF of a charming, “cunning” extrovert who bragged about his power among Democratic officials and who seemed to have an unquenchable thirst for cash.

Bill Miller, spokesman for the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, told TheDCNF that Awan “was arraigned today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on one count of bank fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1344. He pled not guilty and was released pursuant to a high-intensity supervision program. The conditions of release are that he receive a GPS monitor, he abide by a curfew of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., and that he not leave a 50-mile radius of his residence in Virginia. Awan was also ordered to turn over all of his passports.”

Wasserman Schultz’s spokesman, David Damron, did not immediately return a request for comment.”

….Continue reading more @ TruePundit

 

Bernie Sanders Has Reportedly Been Stealing His Neighbor’s Newspaper

|| Mediaite

“It can get expensive to purchase a newspaper subscription for multiple homes, even if you’re as rich as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

Sanders, a man who was once reportedly kicked out of a hippie commune for being too lazy, is now being accused of helping himself to someone else’s property.

According to a recent report, the socialist Senator has decided that the process of redistributing wealth should extend to his neighbor’s Washington Post becoming his Washington Post.

It would appear as though Bernie believes that, like health care, having access to the news of the day in print is a basic human right and not a privilege.

While discussing a potential 2020 Sanders’ White House bid, WMAL radio host Chris Plante told the following story about the Senator’s newspaper snatching habits.

And The Post did investigate and claimed that the delivery person said that a man came out and grabbed the paper every Sunday morning, almost immediately upon delivery.

The neighbor objected to the claim at which point the paper’s representative mentioned that they even had a description of the man.

“You are an older man with gray hair, balding, and little round glasses…;” they reportedly told the man who responded, “I’m in my 50s, I’ve got a full head of dark hair. But, my neighbor is Bernie Sanders.”

To be fair, just because his neighbor bought the subscription with money he worked for does not mean that the paper should belong to him. And it’s comforting to know that Sanders at least practices what he preaches on rare occasions.”

….Continue reading more @ Mediaite

Bezos’ CIA Washington Post Connection Exposed by Trump Leak | Mar 02, 2017

Trump Leak Now Points To Bezos’ Hidden $600M Deal With Obama CIA To Feed Washington Post

– ConservativeDailyPost

“The majority of people do not know Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos purchased the Washington Post and is now the sole owner with no editorial board or ethical review committees to oversee the actions of Bezos as a publisher, much less the courage to stand against the new “boss.”

It begs to question: How is Bezos connected to questionable intelligence leaks in recent months?

What does he have to do with the sudden disruption of web services that kept millions from accessing whistle blowing website, WikiLeaks, during its explosive releases of state department cables?

Cables containing inside information revealing corruption within American politics linked to former secretary of state, and presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.

The majority of Americans do not know ‘leaked” CIA documents to undermine a new president and administration were leaked through the Washington Post first and after Bezos took the helm of “America’s newspaper.”

Much worse and even more suspicious is the majority of the people have not been informed that Bezos landed a $600 million federal contract and by who? The CIA.

The “deal” is for a computing cloud developed by Amazon Web Services (AWS). It also just happens AWS services all 17 agencies within the US intelligence community.”

….Continue reading more @ ConservativeDailyPost

Curious that this nexus of information and disinformation between Amazon and the CIA is not on the front page of every political web site. Somehow this ‘arrangement’ between Bezos and the government is kept from public view. SNL doesn’t parody it. The pundits don’t decry it. It’s like it never happened. /CJ

 

A Brief History of Government Control of the Media |

– Youtube  |  World Alternative Media

More here @ Youtube

 

The CIA, Washington Post, And Russia: What You’re Not Being Told

– ZeroHedge

“According to an unsubstantiated article by the Washington Post, anonymous CIA officials have confirmed that the Russian government hacked the United States election to favor Donald Trump. Though it’s entirely possible the Russian government attempted to influence the election, the Post has been widely criticized — for the second time in a month — for its failure to follow basic journalistic practices. Nevertheless, the narrative is sticking.

But the outlet’s behind-the-scenes relationship with the CIA is nothing new. In 2013, a conflict of interest arose shortly after Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, purchased the newspaper. As the Nation reported at the time:

[Jeff Bezos] recently secured a $600 million contract from the CIA. That’s at least twice what Bezos paid for the Post this year. Bezos recently disclosed that the company’s Web-services business is building a ‘private cloud’ for the CIA to use for its data needs.

As this occurred, a petition calling on the Washington Post to disclose its new ties to the CIA when reporting on the agency garnered 30,000 signatures. According to the RootsforAction petition:

The Post often does reporting on CIA activities. The coverage should include full disclosure that the owner of the Washington Post is also the main owner of Amazon and Amazon is now gaining huge profits directly from the CIA.”

Robert McChesney of the Institute for Public Accuracy pointed out the glaring conflict of interest:

 “If some official enemy of the United States had a comparable situation—say the owner of the dominant newspaper in Caracas was getting $600 million in secretive contracts from the Maduro government—the Post itself would lead the howling chorus impaling that newspaper and that government for making a mockery of a free press. It is time for the Post to take a dose of its own medicine.

In its most recent article on the CIA’s claims of a Russian hack, the Post made no mention of its ties to the CIA. But while this connection calls into serious question the validity of a newspaper that claims to be a purveyor of “great journalism,” the connections are not enough to prove nefarious collaboration.

Unfortunately, however, history reveals actual collusion between the CIA and news outlets, including the Washington Post.

In 1977, Carl Bernstein, a former Post journalist, wrote about the CIA’s efforts to infiltrate the news media, often with the assistance of top management at the papers. In total, Bernstein reported, over 400 journalists were involved.”

…..Continue reading more @ ZeroHedge

 

 

 

 

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Currys Favor with CIA as His Washington Post Attacks Trump | Feb 17, 2017

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Is Doing Huge Business with the CIA, While Keeping His Washington Post Readers in the Dark About it

– Alternet  |  2013

Amazon has a bad history of currying favor with the U.S. government’s “national security” establishment

News media should illuminate conflicts of interest, not embody them. But the owner of the Washington Post is now doing big business with the Central Intelligence Agency, while readers of the newspaper’s CIA coverage are left in the dark.

 

The Post’s new owner, Jeff Bezos, is the founder and CEO of Amazon — which recently landed a $600 million contract with the CIA. But the Post’s articles about the CIA are not disclosing that the newspaper’s sole owner is the main owner of CIA business partner Amazon.

Even for a multi-billionaire like Bezos, a $600 million contract is a big deal. That’s more than twice as much as Bezos paid to buy the Post four months ago.

And there’s likely to be plenty more where that CIA largesse came from. Amazon’s offer wasn’t the low bid, but it won the CIA contract anyway by offering advanced high-tech “cloud” infrastructure.

Bezos personally and publicly touts Amazon Web Services, and it’s evident that Amazon will be seeking more CIA contracts. Last month, Amazon issued a statement saying, “We look forward to a successful relationship with the CIA.”

As Amazon’s majority owner and the Post’s only owner, Bezos stands to gain a lot more if his newspaper does less ruffling and more soothing of CIA feathers.

Amazon has a bad history of currying favor with the U.S. government’s “national security” establishment. The media watch group FAIR pointed out what happened after WikiLeaks published State Department cables: “WikiLeaks was booted from Amazon’s webhosting service AWS. So at the height of public interest in what WikiLeaks was publishing, readers were unable to access the WikiLeaks website.”

How’s that for a commitment to the public’s right to know?

Days ago, my colleagues at RootsAction.org launched a petition that says: “The Washington Post’s coverage of the CIA should include full disclosure that the sole owner of the Post is also the main owner of Amazon — and Amazon is now gaining huge profits directly from the CIA.” More than 15,000 people have signed the petition so far this week, with many posting comments that underscore widespread belief in journalistic principles.

News media should illuminate conflicts of interest, not embody them. But the owner of the Washington Post is now doing big business with the Central Intelligence Agency, while readers of the newspaper’s CIA coverage are left in the dark.
The Post’s new owner, Jeff Bezos, is the founder and CEO of Amazon — which recently landed a $600 million contract with the CIA. But the Post’s articles about the CIA are not disclosing that the newspaper’s sole owner is the main owner of CIA business partner Amazon.

Even for a multi-billionaire like Bezos, a $600 million contract is a big deal. That’s more than twice as much as Bezos paid to buy the Post four months ago.

And there’s likely to be plenty more where that CIA largesse came from. Amazon’s offer wasn’t the low bid, but it won the CIA contract anyway by offering advanced high-tech “cloud” infrastructure.

Bezos personally and publicly touts Amazon Web Services, and it’s evident that Amazon will be seeking more CIA contracts. Last month, Amazon issued a statement saying, “We look forward to a successful relationship with the CIA.”

As Amazon’s majority owner and the Post’s only owner, Bezos stands to gain a lot more if his newspaper does less ruffling and more soothing of CIA feathers.

Amazon has a bad history of currying favor with the U.S. government’s “national security” establishment. The media watch group FAIR pointed out what happened after WikiLeaks published State Department cables: “WikiLeaks was booted from Amazon’s webhosting service AWS. So at the height of public interest in what WikiLeaks was publishing, readers were unable to access the WikiLeaks website.”

How’s that for a commitment to the public’s right to know?

While the Post functions as a powerhouse media outlet in the Nation’s Capital, it’s also a national and global entity — read every day by millions of people who never hold its newsprint edition in their hands. Hundreds of daily papers reprint the Post’s news articles and opinion pieces, while online readership spans the world.

Propaganda largely depends on patterns of omission and repetition. If, in its coverage of the CIA, the Washington Post were willing to fully disclose the financial ties that bind its owner to the CIA, such candor would shed some light on how top-down power actually works in our society.

“The Post is unquestionably the political paper of record in the United States, and how it covers governance sets the agenda for the balance of the news media,” journalism scholar Robert W. McChesney points out. “Citizens need to know about this conflict of interest in the columns of the Post itself.”

In a statement just released by the Institute for Public Accuracy, McChesney added: “If some official enemy of the United States had a comparable situation — say the owner of the dominant newspaper in Caracas was getting $600 million in secretive contracts from the Maduro government — the Post itself would lead the howling chorus impaling that newspaper and that government for making a mockery of a free press. It is time for the Post to take a dose of its own medicine.”

“What emerges now is what, in intelligence parlance, is called an ‘agent of influence’ owning the Post — with a huge financial interest in playing nice with the CIA,” said former CIA official Ray McGovern. “In other words, two main players nourishing the national security state in undisguised collaboration.”

A former reporter for the Washington Post and many other news organizations, John Hanrahan, said: “It’s all so basic. Readers of the Washington Post, which reports frequently on the CIA, are entitled to know — and to be reminded on a regular basis in stories and editorials in the newspaper and online — that the Post‘s new owner Jeff Bezos stands to benefit substantially from Amazon’s $600 million contract with the CIA.

Even with such disclosure, the public should not feel assured they are getting tough-minded reporting on the CIA. One thing is certain: Post reporters and editors are aware that Bezos, as majority owner of Amazon, has a financial stake in maintaining good relations with the CIA — and this sends a clear message to even the hardest-nosed journalist that making the CIA look bad might not be a good career move.”

…..Continue reading more @ Alternet.org

 

Amazon-CIA Cloud Contract Is A Recipe For Big Brother Hell, Warn Privacy Activists

– International Business Times

“The slogan “Amazon and you’re done” may have just taken on a whole new meaning — at least for enemies of the state.

Privacy advocates and media watchdogs are challenging a contract between Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, calling it a potentially “ominous” convergence of mass surveillance and perpetual war.

In an online petition launched this month, the group RootsAction called on Amazon’s chief executive, Jeff Bezos, to make a “legally binding” commitment to Amazon users that it won’t share customer data with the CIA. Following a lengthy legal battle, Amazon in October defeated IBM (NYSE:IBM) in a bid for a $600 million cloud computing contract. Under the 10-year deal, Amazon’s cloud computing arm, Amazon Web Services, will build and operate a dedicated, private computer cloud for the agency.

“The relationship means that Amazon — logoed with a smiley-face arrow from A to Z, selling products to millions of people every week — is responsible for keeping the CIA’s secrets and aggregating data to help the agency do its work,” wrote Norman Solomon, co-founder of RootsAction, in a blog post. “Including drone strikes.”

Solomon added — somewhat melodramatically — that should President Barack Obama order the CIA to kill a U.S. citizen, Amazon would be a “partner in assassination.”

In an email to IBTimes on Sunday, Solomon said the group’s petition had been signed by upwards of 27,000 in just the last few days. At last check, it was up to just under 30,000, with many commenters not holding back their disgust over the alliance.

“OK, Bezos, you’re rich enough and powerful enough that everybody is duly impressed,” one person wrote. “Now get a grip on yourself and get out of bed with the CIA. Those guys are evil.”

“If you can’t respect consumer privacy, it will be necessary to reevaluate doing business with your company,” wrote another.”

…..Continue reading @ IBT

 

Chinese Ambassador Requested Meeting With Top Clinton Campaign Aides

– Daily Caller

“Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Cui Tiankai requested a meeting with Hillary Clinton’s top aides in January 2016, according to an internal email circulated among the former secretary of State’s senior presidential campaign officials.

“Chinese Ambassador Cui invited me over to the residence Tuesday for a coffee and to make a request. He wants to have an informal, private, off the record get together with a few of us to discuss the next year and the current state of US-China affairs,” wrote Clinton campaign aide Kurt Campbell in the Jan. 7, 2016, email.

“He asked me to host a social meal at my house in the next month. He was fairly insistent and indicated that he wanted to pass along some perspectives. I told him I’d reach out to you all to see about your judgement on this and possible availability. I’m happy to make some chili and cornbread by the fire but let’s first decide whether this makes sense. Please let me know your thinking,” Campbell said.

The email is one among hundreds of emails to and from Clinton campaign manager John Podesta that were made public by Wikileaks during the 2016 election cycle.”

……Continue reading @ Daily Caller

 

 

 

Media Gatekeepers Closing Comments Part of Closing off the Internet? | Sep 2016

Have Comment Sections on News Media Websites Failed?

– NY Times

1984a

“Many newspapers and online media companies have begun disabling comment sections because of widespread abuse and obscenity. Of course, that vitriol is not meted out equally: The Guardian analyzed its comments and found the 10 most abused writers of the past decade were female and/or black. (The Times moderates comments in an effort to keep them on-topic and not abusive.)

Have comment sections — once thought to be a democratizing force in the media — failed?

From the ‘Comments’ Section:

“Comment sections have become less necessary and relevant as publishers move audience engagement to social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram — all of which allow for easier moderation and hold greater opportunity to attract new audiences.”

“Trolls, jerks, petulant little snotnoses, call them what you will, they haven’t a chance of ever running the show or even directing the conversation. Most people know when they are being led and most know the acceptable limits of each publication. I’d rather figure out myself who is kidding who than have a third party decide to shut down the squawk box.”

“It’s through the comment section that we the readers can talk about how bias your articles are and state the real facts that most journalists leave out of their garbage opinion piece. You’re just shooting yourself in the foot by leaving the comment section out because most people will just go to another dime a dozen site that left the comment section in.”

…..Read the continuing and thoughtful discussion, with a comments section @ NY Times

 

 

The Left’s War on Comment Sections

– Breitbart

computer-keyboard-640x423x

“The internet was born open but is becoming closed everywhere. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the rush to shutter readers’ comments sections at major news organisations. Cheered on by intolerant, snobbish cultural elites, news organisations from The Verge to The Daily Beast have, in recent months, informed their readers to take their opinions elsewhere.

Dozens of progressive blogs and news outlets are following suit, citing “abuse” and “harassment” as the primary reasons they no longer want to hear the opinions of their readers. But that’s not what is really going on.

There was a time when comments sections were seen as the next step in a golden age of democratised communication, particularly by the political Left. “For the first time ever, we are thinking aloud, unfiltered by mass media gatekeepers,” wrote a former Hillary Clinton advisor in 2008. “Never before has the global discourse been so accessible, recursive, and durable.”

In 2009, the former online editor for the Washington Post wrote that despite their problems, readers’ comments allowed readers to “complain about what they see as unfairness or inaccuracy” and remind editors that they “do not always agree with journalists about what is important.”

The late Georgina Henry, former editor of the Guardian’s online commentary pages, wrote in 2010 that “journalism without feedback, engagement, dispute and opinion from below the line no longer feels complete to me.” Indeed, the Guardian was once so enamoured of its comments section that it ran a weekly feature, Below the Line, in which “delightful, prolific, or controversial members of  the Guardian comment community” were invited to profile themselves.”

…Continue reading @ Breitbart

 

 

Comments are making the internet worse. So we got rid of them

– WashingtonPost

“In February 2009, large law firms were in crisis. The stock market was in free fall, Lehman Brothers had recently collapsed and rumors of lawyer layoffs and firm implosions were rampant.

At Above the Law, the legal news website I founded in 2006, my colleague Elie Mystal and I were covering the developments closely. In the reader comments, we noticed persistent predictions bubbling up of layoffs at leading law firm Latham & Watkins. These comments led us to investigate further. Before Latham eventually announced its massive, record-setting layoffs, we broke the story — and we owed the scoop, one of our biggest ever, to our comments section.

Reader comments in the early days of Above the Law were a treasure trove of information, insight and humor, advancing our mission of bringing greater transparency to an often opaque profession. Comments were wildly popular; some readers came specifically to read them, and some commenters became Internet celebrities in their own right. “Loyola 2L,” a law student who helped raise public awareness about the risks and costs of going to law school in 2007, was named Lawyer of the Year by the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.

Over the years, however, our comments changed. They had always been edgy, but the ratio of offensive to substantive shifted in favor of the offensive. Inside information about law firms and schools gave way to inside jokes among the “commentariat,” relevant knowledge got supplanted by non sequiturs, and basic civility (with a touch of political incorrectness) succumbed to abuse and insult. A female Supreme Court justice was called a “bull-dyke.” An Asian American woman’s column about civility in the legal profession provoked “me love you long time” in response. My colleague Staci Zaretsky, who writes extensively about gender inequality in the legal profession, was told: “Staci, you have plenty of assets, like that fat milky white ass.”

So we decided to get rid of the comments section.

* * *

In part, our decision was based on science. Researchers have found that when readers are exposed to uncivil, negative comments at the end of articles, they trust the content of the pieces less. (Scientists dubbed this the “nasty effect.”) A study by the Atlantic found that negative comments accompanying a news article caused readers to hold the article in lower esteem. In an increasingly competitive media environment, websites can ill afford to have their content and brands tarnished in this way.”

…Continue reading @ WashingtonPost

 

 

What happened after 7 news sites got rid of reader comments

– Niemanlab.org

juni10

“Recode, Reuters, Popular Science, The Week, Mic, The Verge, and USA Today’s FTW have all shut off reader comments in the past year. Here’s how they’re all using social media to encourage reader discussion.

For a short period at the end of 2014, it appeared that publishers had reached a breaking point in their ongoing struggle with reader comments. Within a few weeks of each other, Recode, Mic, The Week, and Reuters all announced that they were closing down their comment sections. They joined the ranks of other outlets, including The Chicago Sun-Times and Popular Science, that abandoned the practice in favor of letting users discuss stories on social channels instead.

Many news organizations have had comments sections for as long as they’ve been online. For just as long, many have agonized over the value of the conversations that rage in the space below a story. There’s plenty of debate over the issue, as newsrooms struggle with moderation, the value of anonymity among commenters, and, in some cases, the legal issues that arise from what’s said in the comments.

I spoke to seven news organizations — Recode, The Verge, Reuters, Mic, Popular Science, The Week, and USA Today’s FTW — about their decision to suspend comments, the results of that change, and how they manage reader engagement now.

The Verge

Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief, and Helen Havlak, engagement editor:

PATEL: Comments and community are foundational for the company, and they’re foundational to The Verge. So they’re really important to us. We didn’t get rid of them, and that makes us a little different from everybody else you might be talking to. We want to have a big community, a vibrant community, and find ways to grow and nurture that community over time. That will ultimately lead to our success, particularly in a world where, I think, everyone is super worried about off-platform publishing. We’re trying to reset the expectations of our community and rethink how we maintain what’s strong about one set of people that are reading one kind of content as our site grows and as our ambitions grow for the site.”

….Continue reading @ Niemanlab.org

 

Oliver Stone “Snowden” Trailer | July 2016

Obama Admin Settles Syrian ‘Refugees’ Far Away from DC | Aug 2016

Virginia’s Syrian Refugees Resettled In Poor Communities Hours Away From Wealthy Washington DC Suburbs

– DailyCaller

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Unwelcome in the Beltway

“According to data from the U.S. State Department’s Refugee Processing Center, almost all of the Syrian refugees resettled in Virginia since October have been placed in towns with lower incomes and higher poverty rates, hours away from the wealthy suburbs outside of Washington, D.C.

Of the 121 Syrian refugees placed in Virginia so far, 112 have been placed in communities at least 100 miles away from the nation’s capital; 105 were placed in cities where median incomes fall below the state average.

The D.C. suburban counties of Fairfax, Loudoun and Arlington are all among the nation’s wealthiest and, according to U.S. census data, collectively have roughly 1.7 million residents. The three counties have resettled a grand total of nine Syrian refugees, all nine of whom were placed in the city of Falls Church.

The other 93 percent of Syrian refugees in Virginia were all placed at least 100 miles away from the nation’s legislators: Charlottesville (116.9 miles away, according to Google Maps), Harrisonburg (130 miles away), Newport News (171 miles away), Powhatan (137 miles away) and Roanoke (240 miles away) received the rest of the state’s Syrian refugees.

The federal government placed 21 Syrian refugees in the city of Roanoke (population 100,000), where the median household income ($39,530) falls well short of the statewide median ($64,792), according to U.S. Census data. Roanoke’s poverty rate, 21.9 percent, is almost double the state average of 11.8 percent. Despite having both fewer and poorer people than the wealthy suburbs outside the nation’s capital, Roanoke was tasked with resettling twice as many Syrian refugees.

Charlottesville (population 47,000) has a median household income ($47,218) — less than half Fairfax County’s median household income of $112,000. Charlottesville also has a poverty rate of 25.9 percent — more than double the statewide average. Charlottesville resettled three times the number of Syrian refugees as Fairfax, Loudoun and Arlington combined.

Newport News, a city of 182,00, has a median income ($51,000) — well below the state average. The federal government placed 51 Syrian refugees in Newport News.”

….Continue reading @ DailyCaller

 

 

MS-13 Gang Members Convicted for Gruesome Murders in Virginia as Illegal Immigration Surge Continues

– Breitbart

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“Six MS-13 gang members were convicted for three grisly murders and another attempted murder on Monday and face mandatory life sentences.

Thirteen gang members were originally charged, and six took plea deals and testified against the others, while one will face a separate trial.

The Washington Post reports:

The case dates back to October 2013, when prosecutors said several of the defendants plotted to kill a member believed to be cooperating with police.

Authorities intercepted them in Woodbridge one night as they were driving to Gar-Field High School, where the member, known only as Peligroso, took night classes. They found two machetes and a sawed-off shotgun in their car.

A week later, gang members killed Nelson Omar Quintanilla Trujillo, who was suspected of alerting police to the failed murder plot, prosecutors said. After luring Trujillo into Holmes Run Park in Fairfax County, they stabbed him to death, dismembered him and buried him in the woods. Several months later, they stabbed and decapitated Gerson Adoni Martinez Aguilar, an MS-13 recruit who was accused of stealing gang money and having sex with an incarcerated member’s girlfriend. They buried him in the same park.

The third murder took place in June 2014, when Chavez and two other gang members shot and killed Julio Urrutia in Alexandria, mistaking him for a rival gang member, according to the prosecutors.

Northern Virginia residents treasure the Fall Church park where El Salvadorian gangbangers buried the dismembered bodies as “an island of tranquility.” The killers repeatedly bragged about the details of their murders to an informant, also an El Salvadorian immigrant (doing the jobs Americans just won’t do).

One of the defendants who pled guilty said he helped to kill each of the three victims and admitted in court he also murdered two others back in El Salvador. Whether or not he is an anchor baby or illegal alien is never stated by the Washington Post.

The Post also notes:

MS-13 has operated in the Washington region since the early 1990s and has between 2,000 and 3,000 members in the area, according to gang experts.An aggressive crackdown by the FBI and local police in the mid-2000s drove the gang underground for several years. But more recently, law enforcement experts say, MS-13 leaders in El Salvador have pressured cliques in the Washington [D.C.] region to rebuild. The effort has unleashed a new round of violence in the past three years, experts said.

It’s indisputable that mass Third World immigration is transforming Virginia. Without immigration from El Salvador, there would be no MS-13 in America; its founders fled an El Salvador conflict in the 1980s. As it stands, one-fifth of the population of El Salvador lives in the U.S. And as the Associated Press reported in 2014, “El Salvador is the top country of birth for immigrants to Virginia,” allowing Third World gang violence and chaos to expand into American parks and schools. The Obama administration’s policy of encouraging Central American illegal aliens to surge across the border by the hundreds of thousands and shipping them to unsuspecting American neighborhoods has only worsened such problems.”

….Continue reading @ Breitbart