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How to Identify Misinformation

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posted on Apr, 13 2006 @ 03:48 PM
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How to Identify Misinformation


How to Identify Misinformation
How can a journalist or a news consumer tell if a story is true or false? There are no exact rules, but the following clues can help indicate if a story or allegation is true.

* Does the story fit the pattern of a conspiracy theory?
* Does the story fit the pattern of an “urban legend?”
* Does the story contain a shocking revelation about a highly controversial issue?
* Is the source trustworthy?
* What does further research tell you?


That's just the beginning, but this document supposedly tells us how to tell apart myths, urban legends, and conspiracy theories.

The Misinformants themselves are telling us what the misinformation is! Oh golly gee I wonder what's behind door number 2.


How to Identify Misinformation
Finally, if the counter-misinformation team can be of help, ask us. We can’t respond to all requests for information, but if a request is reasonable and we have the time, we will do our best to provide accurate, authoritative information.


Okay, so, I want to say...well, I want to ask about the pilot who confessed he shot down United 93. I'm an American Citizen, Live in California, I was raised here. I should have the right, right? LEFT!


Contact Us
Please send questions or information regarding disinformation, misinformation, urban legends, conspiracy theories, or false rumors to counter-misinformation@state.gov. We will try to respond to all reasonable requests for information.

Please note that the U.S. laws under which the Bureau of International Information Programs operates allow us to respond to requests from outside the United States only.


Okay so you're telling Americans what to believe, but just incase they have questions, you tell them to ask, but then we can't ask? Another case of "You can go back to bed america, your government is in control, here, here is American Gladiators, heres 136 channels of it, go back to bed, you can only think what we tell you, you can only say what we say, but go back to bed america."

And so, we rely on our best friend Watch_the_rocks! (I posted the 9/11 section of this site in the 9/11 forum and so I'm quoting him from a different topic)


Originally posted by watch_the_rocks

Email message from watchtherocks to counter-misinformation@state.gov

I have some information that I believe to be false, but I cannot be sure. I have looked into it extensively, but I cannot uncover the truth. I was wondering, if I sent this information to the Bureau of International Information Programs, what methods will you employ to uncover the truth?

As I live outside the U.S., it is possible for you to answer this question - but just wondering, why can't Americans ask an American agency for the truth? That just seems a but wrong, that's all. Can you contact American Intel agencies in your search for the truth? Can they contact you?

Anyway, I have looked into my info, but am having trouble. Would it be possible for you to help me here? And if so, I would like to know exactly how you worked out whether the information is correct or not, as then I can follow these methods in the future.

Cheers, Tom.


And now we wait for a reply.


And so, while I understand laws are laws and they exist for (supposedly) some reason, here's the trouble I see. People can ask the President anything they want, on Live TV, infront of millions upon millions of people. And it's recorded. And it's put on the internet. And there's always YouTube and Google Video. We can get most government documents declassified via the FOIA. CIA/FBI/NSA/NRO, Anything.

But we can't EMAIL some "Contact Us" Email from the Department of State, where they can simply reply "Sorry, we can't help you."

I understand laws are laws..but this is just like the drinking age/military age thing...you can be a hired killer at 18 but can't have a beer until 21. Something along those lines of screwed up "Freedoms".

But, Aha, this document is a very small part of the whole spectrum. Behold...
usinfo.state.gov...

So they're throwing at us tons of evidence, tons of conspiracy theories which sound true, tons and tons of information, yet noone but we can't ask any questions?

All those joke GIF's that I see are now seeming serious, this is scary.


What do you guys think about the whole document itself? What about the Contact Us thing?

Also, if you're too lazy to read, NrKy has posted a podcast where he reads the whole document. In a splendid yet lovely voice in my opinion. ( www.podtrac.com... )

mod edit to fix quote tags

[edit on 7-8-2006 by DontTreadOnMe]



Dae

posted on Apr, 13 2006 @ 06:13 PM
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Got to love this!

Any highly controversial issue or taboo behavior is ripe material for false rumors and urban legends.


So, if its highly controversial it cant be true...

To the people who wrote that rubbish, I dare you to come to ATS and try posting your opinions here.


Is the story startlingly good, bad, amazing, horrifying, or otherwise seemingly “too good” or “too terrible” to be true? If so, it may be an “urban legend.”


Far out! Thats like qualitative maaaan. Check out this conclusion for an "urban myth" about organ traficking.


In sum, organ transplantation is such an immensely complicated, highly technical, heavily regulated, extremely time-sensitive procedure, involving so many highly trained professional personnel and so much sophisticated medical equipment, that clandestine organ trafficking is, quite simply, an impossibility from a practical point of view. The charges that children are being kidnapped and murdered for such purposes make the allegations even more dubious.


Because its "immensely complicated" its impossible... from a practical point of view of course...l.



posted on Apr, 13 2006 @ 06:21 PM
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Hmm, I don't know man, 17 men in Afghanistan outsmartting the best military in the world, the biggest/strongest country, the most powerful government in the solar system, and hitting 3 targets...hmm Oh my, that's..

A. Highly controversial

B. It's too terrible to be true

C. And it's immensly complicated!

Oh my gosh, THE OFFICIAL STORY IS MISINFORMATION!



posted on May, 30 2006 @ 12:37 PM
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But truth is stranger than fiction. One can glean a motive behind the text by simply inferring the author's intent.

Has anyone noticed large pupils on certain political or corporate figures, when they deliver speeches or press conferences. I know it sounds silly, but enlarged pupils would be one way for a speaker to sub-conciously manipulate their audience.

Pupils enlarge when a person is angry, frightened or otherwise aroused - it has the effect of making the face more engrossing/sympathetic to onlookers. When shown a picture of the same face, one with the pupils enlarged, the other without - people will choose the enlarged pupil face as the more attractive, but not know why.

Maybe there's a large pupil contact being marketed to power-holders for said purpose. Fifty years of research on social control and psychological manipulation must have netted the military/industrial complex some sneaky material.



posted on May, 30 2006 @ 01:01 PM
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Originally posted by Dae
Got to love this!

Any highly controversial issue or taboo behavior is ripe material for false rumors and urban legends.


So, if its highly controversial it cant be true...


You might want to read that again, and read the paragraph that contains it. What it's saying is that "spectacular events also generate rumors and urban legends." This will happen whether it's a suicide of a family in your neighborhood, a string of bad misfortunes to a prominent person (you see things like "generational curse" or "worshpper of (name your least favorite deity)" )

A good example of this is the story that circulated about hundreds of people being killed by gangs inisde the Louisiana Superdome in the aftermath of Katrina.




Is the story startlingly good, bad, amazing, horrifying, or otherwise seemingly “too good” or “too terrible” to be true? If so, it may be an “urban legend.”


Far out! Thats like qualitative maaaan. Check out this conclusion for an "urban myth" about organ traficking.


Actually, organ trafficing for transplants really is an urban myth. Transplants are hard to do and must be both blood and tissue typed (or the transplanted organ will die and in dying will kill the recipient.) Many people in third world countries have medical conditions (infections, worms, parasites, etc) that damage organs and could affect the body.

But read the page again -- it says:

Humans love to speculate
They don't always check the facts
They may present conclusions without checking facts.
Really dramatic events generate a lot of rumors and legends.
If they have a prejudice (racial, religious) they can insert that into the conclusion they come up with (some extremist Islamic preachers say that HIV was created by the Jews to wipe out Islam.)

And then it invites you to check evidence and not read pages that agree with your own views.


Dae

posted on May, 31 2006 @ 05:44 AM
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Ello Byrd! You didn't write for that site did ya?



Originally posted by Byrd
You might want to read that again, and read the paragraph that contains it.


Aye yup... It said "in the same way" that controversial issues are naturally prone to blah blah therefore any controversial issues is ripe for blah blah.


In the same way, many other highly controversial issues are naturally prone to misunderstanding and false rumors. Any highly controversial issue or taboo behavior is ripe material for false rumors and urban legends.


Again, I see the same premise, if its loud and amazin' you are going to have people blah blahing about it. So, conclusion, if its highly wowzers, dont listen to anyone, listen to offical explanation. Suspect, if you ask me... sounds more suggestion than advice.


Actually, organ trafficing for transplants really is an urban myth.


Im sure it is! Never said I thought it wasnt. I did however critisize the methodology of how to determin if a premise was true or not. If its immensly complicated, from a practical point of view, then its practically impossible.


Conspiracy theories are rarely true, even though they have great appeal and are often widely believed. In reality, events usually have much less exciting explanations.


OK, lets look seriously at 9/11 in view of this.


Humans love to speculate

So I say give them some facts. Why all the pathetic investigations? Where is the explanation for wtc7? Why did the US gov not give us more footage? Why did they send the evidence to China? Is that true?



They don't always check the facts

I dont think this can be said of 9/11, people have been pouring over the evidence given to us for well since it happened no?



They may present conclusions without checking facts.

Yup. People also present conclusions after checking facts too, isnt that what the whole 9/11 conspiracy is about? Looking at the facts given to us and coming to conclusions?



Really dramatic events generate a lot of rumors and legends.

Aye it does. However, if something is dramatic and eventful, that doesnt mean it is out of woods of conspiracy, why should it be? Just 'cos its big?



If they have a prejudice (racial, religious) they can insert that into the conclusion they come up with (some extremist Islamic preachers say that HIV was created by the Jews to wipe out Islam.)

Aye, thats called Agenda and again most people will recognise this when researching conspiracy. So what about those Israeli males videoing and jumping for joy when the towers were stuck? Hmm? Because we have a racial factor are we supposed to ignore it? Political Correctness, anyone?


And then it invites you to check evidence and not read pages that agree with your own views.


Well thats sweet! Really, how many people had firm solid beliefs about 9/11 and 'found sites agreeing with those beliefs'? Nah, 9/11 conspiracy grew in reaction to the government 'evidence' and 'information' it had in regard to the whole thing. Truly, those three buildings came down with order, not chaos.

This is why I like coming to ATS, people post ideas from sites they have read, and we all have a good bash at it (sometimes), sometimes we lable something as hoax and sometimes it can be said to be true, but most of the time it stays floating in the 'conclusion unknown' department. Maybe more time is needed so more information/evidence comes forth, especially in the case of 9/11.



posted on Jul, 26 2006 @ 02:04 PM
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Part of what make American gullible is that we are constantly being bombarded by polarizing ideology. By oversimplification into opposite concepts like Black/White, Good/Evil, Us/Them leads us into a mindset that lets us accept any lies we are told by an information source we consider trustworthy.
Every story has more than one point of view. If you only hear one side, file it away and don't consider it true or false until you hear from an independent source.
Don't fall prey to stereotypes. Not all Arabs are Moslem, and only a very few are terrorists.
Don't accept the story from only one source. Beware of those that use their own pennames as references.
The vast majority of facts leading to big news events, are somewhere in the grey area between the extremes.
many years ago, I would listen to VOA and Radio Moscow on the shortwave. Neither side told outright lies, but each biased the news in their own opposing ways. Usually by seeking the common ground between both extremes you could determine what really happened.



posted on Aug, 6 2006 @ 09:16 PM
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It's simple.

This has to be the most common recommendation I post on ATS forums.

Please visit www.fallacyfiles.org... for all questions regarding various media propaganda techniques.

Have fun everybody.



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 05:57 PM
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No go ha?

How about an example then.

By using the techniques described on fallacyfiles.org, we can pick apart that "official document" on disinformation, and very quickly it becomes evident that it's in fact the very disinformation tool it attempts to describe and "warn" us against.

Let's start;


In March 1992, then-Russian intelligence chief and later Russian Prime Minister Yevgeni Primakov admitted that the disinformation service of the Soviet KGB had concocted the false story that the AIDS virus had been created in a US military laboratory as a biological weapon. The Russian newspaper Izvestiya reported on March 19, 1992:


usinfo.state.gov...

Here's what this statement does not disclose;


"FORMER RUSSIAN PREMIER/EX KGB HEAD TO WORK FOR HOMELAND SECURITY!"

So, should we be surprised at the news covered in the American Free Press, April 21, 2002, entitled "Get Ready for the Sovietization of America" by Al Martin, author of The Conspirators: Secrets of an Iran-Contra Insider"? Martin's article reveals that the former Russian Premier and head of the KGB (the secret police of the former Soviet Union), Gen. Yevgeni Primakov, has been hired as a consultant by the Department of Homeland Security. Of interest also, according to an article in the April 21, 2003 issue of The New American entitled "Our enemy, Our Ally" by William Norman Grigg, is fact that Primakov is a close friend of Saddam Hussein.


www.newswithviews.com...

Let's dig a little deeper;


Former KGB counter-intelligence chief, General Oleg Kalugin, who is a Fox News commentator, recently stated that Admiral Poindexter's Office of Information Awareness (OIA) which is involved in spying on United States citizens, had hired both General Yevgeny Primakov and General Aleksandr V. Karpos, former KGB heads, as consultants and advisors. (Primakov in addition served as Russian Prime Minister in the late nineties.) (Note: The KGB was the Secret Police in the former Soviet Union)

Al Martin, whose credibility has been questioned by a couple of NewsWithViews.com readers, had previously reported that Primakov and Karpov were hired by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This information was disinformation provided by the Bush Administration to cover up the fact that Poindexter's OIA had hired Primakov and Karpov.

When the Bush administration realized it couldn't get away with lying about the hiring of Primakov and Karpov by Poindexter's OIA, it put out out very effective disinformation to the effect that these two former Soviet spies had a relationship with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is a lie."


www.newswithviews.com...

So in ACTUAL reality, it's Primakov who was hired to spread disinformation for the Bush administration. I hope you noticed that plot considerably thickened, when a FOX commentator attempted to cover that fact up by spreading disinformation that Yevgeny Primakov and General Aleksandr V. Karpos were hired as DHA advisors, while in reality they were hired to work for OIA domestic spying office, an exact equivalent of a Nazi/Soviet style SECRET POLICE.

A fallacy (aka blatant lie) easily found by the use of fallacyfiles.org techniques.

Feel free to take it from here and practice, the ENTIRE document is an obvious disinformation campaign, so just take it apart piece by piece and don't get surprised to how obvious this type of BS will begin to appear.

With time you'll even find such obvious crap to be simply insulting to your intellect, and further more, an insult to the entire nation, since they consider all of us to be THAT stupid.

As to ATS call, deny ignorance and enjoy!



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 06:11 PM
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BTW, It's always just FASCINATING to hear from ATS supermoderators and the "conspiracy masters", all while flying high the "Deny Ignorance" flag.


Actually, organ trafficing for transplants really is an urban myth. Transplants are hard to do and must be both blood and tissue typed (or the transplanted organ will die and in dying will kill the recipient.) Many people in third world countries have medical conditions (infections, worms, parasites, etc) that damage organs and could affect the body.


THis just for starters;

query.nytimes.com

clearharmony.net...

Other then that, there was a TV special on NBC or something, describing in detail that over 80% of transplants in US are conducted through black market.

Simple math, +/- 11 million transplants performed annually verses the ACTUAL number of organ donors.

And the world keeps turning


edit:spl

[edit on 7-8-2006 by iskander]
mod edit to shorten link

[edit on 7-8-2006 by DontTreadOnMe]



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 06:30 PM
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lol, they never did get back to me . . .




poster: niklaus

Part of what make American gullible is that we are constantly being bombarded by polarizing ideology. By oversimplification into opposite concepts like Black/White, Good/Evil, Us/Them leads us into a mindset that lets us accept any lies we are told by an information source we consider trustworthy.


Yeah, that makes sense to me. This is a great little movie that gives examples of what the media may be like in the future. It sounds pretty unbiased and all that, but if you managed to take control of something like this, you would confuse everyone on the planet.



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 07:25 PM
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www.epic2014.com... is a good find, and it's entertaining.

Unfortunately the reality is much more disturbing.

In 2002 FOX networks and it's localized affiliates went through a system wide upgrade.

EditStar based systems which relied on traditional sat feeds for material and a on-line database source for scripting was replaced by a dedicated broadband FirePath bases system.

Not to be confused with "Firepath Digital Production".

In fact, very little is publicly known about the broadcast FirePath system.

The heart of the systems allows for immediate script pre-tagging and content anchoring to the pre-screened video footage, thus greatly reducing the workload of the writer and video editor.

This work load issue arose after FOX downsized it's video editor and writer position to bare minimum, and increased the local time slot from a half an hour to a full hour.

The new system is based on what's called a pre-edit. After the news director approves the producers lineup, writer simply calls up the news packages pre-packaged for air, cuts and pastes the key text points to the designated time slot, and the video editing station automatically begins the download of video that's relative to the text selected by the writer.

In the near future, the very positions of the writer and video editor will be obsolete and replaced by an automated system, even though they are absolutely essential for the final QC of the material to be aired.

Draw your conclusions, and just in case, feel free to look into systems such as ClearCHannel automated jukebox radio stations.

The same fate will shortly fall upon all local stations.

The future is here, and it is a brave new world, described by A. Huxley a LONG time ago. Get with it kids, it'll suck even more then it does now.



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 07:31 PM
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This is just precious though, the "Research the allegations" section;


Thus, an hour or two of research on the Internet was sufficient to establish that the suspicions of the bloggers that the weapons had been planted on innocent Iraqi boys playing football were unfounded.


usinfo.state.gov...

An hour or two, how slow are these people?

It took me 2 minutes to find and present a proof positive on how incompetent and full of crap they are, and how in the world they get payed for such God awful "work"? Incompetent parasites.

If you going to lie, take the time, figure out the angles, establish the fundamentals, hone in on the target audience, condition sets, variables involved, and work with them.

The good old days are gone, they can't even make it look half way descent these days.



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 08:43 PM
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Great find and analysis, Iskander.

I particularly enjoyed the part about checking controversial issues and examining sources that play against one's prejudices... which seems to suggest the people who wrote this nonsense should spend a lot of time looking at Al-Jazeera.

I do that, though, sometimes... when it suits me... For example, I've spent some time looking over the 911 myths site. Here's my favourite part of the whole site. It's to do with "debunking" the idea that a passport could not have survived the WTC crash. There's a lot of irrelevant guff purporting to show that strange things have survived aircrashes, but then they shoot themselves in the foot rather by actually quoting from the 9/11 commission report on how the passport in question actually turned up:


There’s some support for the idea from other crash sites, then, but of course surviving the initial impact is only one problem. Others ask how could one passport be recovered so quickly from the rubble of the trade centre collapses? Fortunately the answer is a simple one. It wasn’t. Here’s the official account of what happened.

The passport was recovered by NYPD Detective Yuk H. Chin from a male passerby in a business suit, about 30 years old. The passerby left before being identified, while debris was falling from WTC 2. The tower collapsed shortly afterwards. The detective then gave the passport to the FBI on 9/11.
Page 40
www.9-11commission.gov...


So they go through all this guff about how the passport could have survived the crash, and then admit that the passport was just handed in by an anonymous man in a suit. This wouldn't stand for a nanosecond in a court of law...

You gotta love that kind of incompetence.



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 09:31 PM
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Great find and analysis, Iskander.


Thanks rich23, I appreciate it, but in all honesty, it's not really a find. All this stuff is just flying around all over the place, all one has to do is to reach out and grab it.

Information overflow is the best hiding place for absolutely anything. Kind of like trying to find any particular item in a messy teenagers room, you have to know what it is you looking for, and then shapes start to take place.

Unfortunately that's the problem with the current generation on a social level. They all think that they're all are individuals and know better, yet they are not able to perform the basic tasks.

This simple Yevgeny Primakov example is just another form of such ignorance.

When US government employs what in reality is a defector, and lists his statements as proof of what ever, it really doesn't take a great leap of logic to figure out that it would be exactly the same scenario as a court testimony of a convicted felon that made a deal with a DA for a parole, thus raising the question credibility and conflict of interest.

In case of guys like Primakov it's obvious that it's not even a case of a something as exotic as double agent. He's probably just another bureaucrat who's main job was making him self indispensable by collecting as many dirty secrets on everybody as he could.

Since they collect compromising info, In most cases they are not fired or persecuted, but simply isolated from sensitive material. That's when guys like that usually make a career decision and start blackmailing anybody who'll pay the most with all the dirt the collected over the years.

Then they get a cushy "do nothing" job at some government agency. The good old better "p!ssing out of the tent" situation.

For obvious reasons the common folk simply refuses to accept that the people that supposedly govern them are in most cases even dumber then they are, and what makes them politicians are private interest sponsorships and PR teams.

Same crap over and over again. Gorbachev by the way "immigrated" to California after the break up of USSR, and to this day lives on US government pension. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

911myths is another gem to be sure, covering the basics of reverse psychology on pre-teen levels. You have to be a complete knuckle dragging primate to buy into such obvious nonsense.

Oh well, it's just really sad to know that the description of a modern American is pseudo-individualistic consumer oriented ignoramus who is not able to differentiate reality from fiction.



posted on Aug, 8 2006 @ 12:07 AM
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A parallel to the Primakov thing was all the supposed intel about Saddam's WMD. All of that came from people who had rather a lot to gain from telling Uncle Sam what he wanted to hear... "you will be hailed as liberators... little girls will strew your path with flowers..." Hell, I could spot it a mile off... but apparently most of the people that mattered in the US couldn't.

The sheer gall of that USG doc appals me.



posted on Aug, 21 2006 @ 02:32 PM
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I use thes criteria:

1) if the explanation is overly simplistic, and favorable to a single point of view or is only half of the story it may be misinformation. In reality there is black and white and infinite shades in between. Likewise there are infinite degrees between good and bad.

2) If the wording on the information appears to promote FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) it may br misinformation. FUD (a term coined by Gene Amdahl) is the use of a combination of techniques in press releases to villify anyone with an opposing point of view. This includes Spin, outright lies, astroturf campaigns, portrayal of selected surveys as random studies and many more techinques. It it uses terminology that sounds impressive, cites studies by the prestigious (name you've may or may not have heard of) Institute,

3) If opposing viewpoints are given unequal exposure, it may be misinformation. I am aware of a political campaign several years ago where the candidate favored by the local media had a 30 minute political ad that ran every night and preempted primetime network programming. The legally required equal time for his opponent was scheduled at 3:00 AM.

4) If all the "independant" corroborations trace back to a single source. Even if a media outlet tries to be fair, it can be fooled. A common trick is to create false sources that paraphrase the misinformation and pretend to be independant.

5) if the information requires the acceptance of stereotypes to be believable. We are bombarded by the pairing of "Islamic" and "Terrorist" by the media to the point that we associate the two different things as being synonymous. Remember the Oklahoma City Bombing? The media was calling it the work of Islamic Terrorists and it turned out to be the work of homegrown Christian Terrorists.

6) Does the story make sense? If you take the previous guidelines into account, and the story doesn't make sense, it may be misinformation.



posted on Aug, 21 2006 @ 02:34 PM
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How do you Indentify Misinformation?

You heard about it on the interweb.


Dae

posted on Aug, 22 2006 @ 05:47 AM
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You have voted iskander for the Way Above Top Secret award. You have two more votes this month.

Nice work iskander!
This thread has lots of info now and in my mind is a decent thread for ATS.



posted on Aug, 23 2006 @ 01:10 PM
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I have often thought and said the same thing in a different manner.

This is why I sometimes post..." did you go to public school"
I went to public schools too..but have spend a number of years trying to get over it. Not an easy task to accomplish.

I agree the individuality is stamped out and I call it the Xerox machine phenomonon. Punch in 50 and get 50 copies of the same thing. Not much individual thinking going on. Mostly self praise, horn tooting and defining ones self by the goods one consumes. Not by knowlege or personal integrety. Not all mind you ...for some reason ..however few... it is so refreshing to run across someone who doesnt think all stamped/xeroxed out. Gives one hope.

What I have also given though about is can disinformation/misinformation be passed on or promoted to the public through statistics and studys. In otherwords can statistics and studys be politically motivated and not for the public consumption or good but for the purposes of control of the public. To keep people on a treadmill...a controlable predictable malliable treadmill..right to the voting booth??? IN this manner the correct levers are predictably pulled.?

Been thinking along this line for some time now..

Thanks,
Orangetom





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