Fareed Zakaria: An angry victim of the Internet misinformation websites, speaks out

Critical Thinker

Senior Member.
Wikipedia


Fareed Rafiq Zakaria is an Indian-born American journalist and author. He is the host of CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS and writes a weekly column for The Washington Post. He has been a columnist for Newsweek, editor of Newsweek International, and an editor-at-large of Time. He is the author of five books, three of them international bestsellers, and the co-editor of one
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Link to full Washington Post Article

Bile, venom and lies: How I was trolled on the Internet

Thomas Jefferson often argued that an educated public was crucial for the survival of self-government. We now live in an age in which that education takes place mostly through relatively new platforms. Social networks — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. — are the main mechanisms by which people receive and share facts, ideas and opinions. But what if they encourage misinformation, rumors and lies?
In a comprehensive new study of Facebook that analyzed posts made between 2010 and 2014, a group of scholars found that people mainly shared information that confirmed their prejudices, paying little attention to facts and veracity. (Hat tip to Cass Sunstein, the leading expert on this topic.) The result, the report says, is the “proliferation of biased narratives fomented by unsubstantiated rumors, mistrust and paranoia.” The authors specifically studied trolling — the creation of highly provocative, often false information, with the hope of spreading it widely. The report says that “many mechanisms cause false information to gain acceptance, which in turn generate false beliefs that, once adopted by an individual, are highly resistant to correction.”

As it happens, in recent weeks I was the target of a trolling campaign and saw exactly how it works. It started when an obscure website published a post titled “CNN host Fareed Zakaria calls for jihad rape of white women.” The story claimed that in my “private blog” I had urged the use of American women as “sex slaves” to depopulate the white race. The post further claimed that on my Twitter account, I had written the following line: “Every death of a white person brings tears of joy to my eyes.”
Disgusting. So much so that the item would collapse from its own weightlessness, right? Wrong. Here is what happened next: Hundreds of people began linking to it, tweeting and retweeting it, and adding their comments, which are too vulgar or racist to repeat. A few ultra-right-wing websites reprinted the story as fact. With each new cycle, the levels of hysteria rose, and people started demanding that I be fired, deported or killed. For a few days, the digital intimidation veered out into the real world. Some people called my house late one night and woke up and threatened my daughters, who are 7 and 12.

It would have taken a minute to click on the link and see that the original post was on a fake news site, one that claims to be satirical (though not very prominently). It would have taken simple common sense to realize the absurdity of the charge. But none of this mattered. The people spreading this story were not interested in the facts; they were interested in feeding prejudice. The original story was cleverly written to provide conspiracy theorists with enough ammunition to ignore evidence. It claimed that I had taken down the post after a few hours when I realized it “receive[d] negative attention.” So, when the occasional debunker would point out that there was no evidence of the post anywhere, it made little difference. When confronted with evidence that the story was utterly false, it only convinced many that there was a conspiracy and coverup.
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Interesting. I'd seen that story shared on a local site, and I'd explained it was satire. I thought it was too silly to need an actually debunking article.

The satirical/fake story actually contained a link to the "source" which was an actual article he wrote about how middle age white people, particularly those of little education, were dying at an increasing rate.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/americas-self-destructive-whites/2015/12/31/5017f958-afdc-11e5-9ab0-884d1cc4b33e_story.html?hpid=hp_opinions-for-wide-side_opinion-card-f:homepage/story
Why is Middle America killing itself? The fact itself is probably the most important social science finding in years. It is already reshaping American politics. The Post’s Jeff Guo notes that the people who make up this cohort are “largely responsible for Donald Trump’s lead in the race for the Republican nomination for president.” The key question is why, and exploring it provides answers that suggest that the rage dominating U.S. politics will only get worse.

For decades, people in rich countries have lived longer. But in a well-known paper, economists Angus Deaton and Anne Case found that over the past 15 years, one group — middle-age whites in the United States — constitutes an alarming trend. They are dying in increasing numbers. And things look much worse for those with just a high school diploma or less. There are concerns about the calculations, but even a leading critic of the paper has acknowledged that, however measured, “the change compared to other countries and groups is huge.”
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Uber-conservative site Breitbart was angry at this, as it seemed to be criticizing their core demographic:
http://www.breitbart.com/big-journa...ite-people-are-dying-and-trump-cans-save-you/

Citing a study that shows Middle American whites are dying in increasing numbers, like a twisted and bitter eugenicist, serial-plagiarist Fareed Zakaria doesn’t even attempt to contain his glee. By painting those who are supposedly dying as useless, drug-addicted ragers, he paints a picture of a weak, angry, and ultimately stupid ethnic group getting what it deserves.

If this were any other group, Zakaria would not be using the pages of the Washington Post for a victory dance. Instead, he would be launching an emotional blackmail campaign to cure this “epidemic” with hundreds of billions of federal dollars. Like most of the elite media, though, Zakaria despises Middle America, so he joyously assumes the study is accurate and bloodlessly screams “Told You So!”
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Then after Zakaria wrote about the "Zakaria call for rape of white women" story, then Breitbart responded by calling him a fascist for interferring with the press.


http://www.breitbart.com/big-journa...-media-mechanisms-to-protect-him-from-trolls/
Two weeks ago, serial-plagiarist Fareed Zakaria took to the pages of the Washington Post to celebrate a study that claims Middle America whites are dying in increasing numbers. CNN’s left-wing eugenicist is now publicly crybabying over the blowback and demanding we “create better mechanisms” to protect him from speech that hurts his precious feelings:
I love social media. But somehow we have to help create better mechanisms in it to distinguish between fact and falsehood. No matter how passionate people are, no matter how cleverly they can blog or tweet or troll, no matter how viral things get, lies are still lies.​
And who will judge what is truth and what is a lie?
A detestable plagiarist like Zakaria?
How about the Washington Post’s serial-lying fact-checker Glenn Kessler?
How about CNN’s White House unofficial aide Chris Cuomo?
Scratch a leftist (especially a member of the elite media), and underneath you will always find yourself faced with a fascist.
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The commenters there largely seem to assume that the fake story was "payback" for attacking white people.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
hhmm. reading that original Washington Post article, this might be a good example of pure debunking techniques not going far enough to eradicate he spread of bunk. ie saying 'he never posted that'.

Would probably be helpful to tamper down the hate on this guy, by explaining the article wasnt saying what they seem to think it is saying. Of course he could have been alot clearer, and not opened with a Trump pic, (probably not his fault)but still certainly doesnt deserve THAT. Such accusations are absolutely over the line..by a few thousand miles!

I hope he sues for libel. satire site or not, there are limits. I typically frown on suing, but in cases like this we need to set some precedence.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The actual original satire story seems to be from "The People's Cube", a site that seem pretty obviously satire, with similar stories like: "Pope outraged by Planned Parenthood's "unfettered capitalism," demands equal redistribution of baby parts to each according to his need"

http://thepeoplescube.com/peoples-b...lls-for-jihad-rape-of-white-women-t17380.html

Fareed Zakaria, CNN host of 'Foreign Affairs,' a program focusing on international events, has in his private blog called for the merciless rape of white females by Islamic minority groups shortly after openly gloating over the rise in premature deaths of white males in his article in The Washington Post.

Zakaria's blog post unapologetically calls to increase the death rate of white Middle America by systematically targeting Caucasian females.

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While it's clear to most readers that it was satire in that setting, the problem is that it was then shared by conservative fear clickbait sites like Conservative Post. Those sites did not provide any clues that it was satire (beside the story itself being ridiculous, which isn't always enough)
 

Leifer

Senior Member.
Fareed and his weekly CNN Sunday show stands above the rest, as his analysis is nearly always fair and in depth......often hitting the bullseye, sanely.
It's a breath of fresh air, simply because he tackles topical issues, straight-on.
More than once, Fareed has (had to ?) explain his personal cultural and political background, to his readers and viewers.

Trolling with uninformed, deceptive, or selfish intentions.... is perhaps the largest problem,, and is why I contribute to this site.
 
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Marin B

Active Member
Fareed and his weekly CNN Sunday show stands above the rest, as his analysis is nearly always fair and in depth......often hitting the bullseye, sanely.
It's a breath of fresh air, simply because he hits topical issues straight-on.
More than once, he has (had to ?) explain his personal cultural and political background, to his readers and viewers.

You might enjoy this interview of Fareed by Tom Ashbrook - I haven't listened to it since it first aired, but I remember really agreeing with a lot of what was said, especially a point made about critical thinking skills not being sufficiently taught in schools & universities.
 

Leifer

Senior Member.
You might enjoy this interview of Fareed You might enjoy this interview of Fareed by Tom Ashbrook - I haven't listened to it since it first aired, but I remember really agreeing with a lot of what was said,

y Tom Ashbrook - I haven't listened to it since it first aired, but I remember really agreeing with a lot of what was said,
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Very good discussion. (I listened to it.)

The learning of anything is available....and people should grab it. Then use it for good.
 
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scombrid

Senior Member.
Breitbart.com's profit and political gain relies on the successful uncritical spread of misinformation among its target demographic.

I guess I should not be surprised at its response to a member of the group that Breitbart considers to be an enemy daring to criticize Breitbart's bread and butter. But those smears of Zakaria are pretty disgusting. The smears are also a good example of how misinformation is uncritically accepted within a given bubble when you consider that the comments largely believe that the troll targeted Zakaria in retaliation for things that he did not do but that Breitbart had falsely claimed he did.
 

Leifer

Senior Member.
....again, it comes around to "people trolling in order to..." ....to a feeling of personal acceptance and community, that stands out from the rest......especially when such acceptance is praised as vital and needed. (to stand out from within a rebellious crowd).
The suspicion or invention of a notable squeaky wheel.
 
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SR1419

Senior Member.
those smears of Zakaria are pretty disgusting. The smears are also a good example of how misinformation is uncritically accepted within a given bubble when you consider that the comments largely believe that the troll targeted Zakaria in retaliation for things that he did not do but that Breitbart had falsely claimed he did.


The lack of consequence for error(s) on the internet is one of its (if not the) biggest problems...
 

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