Thoughts & Essays

Fake news, Google News, Michael Cohen, Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, & Scott Pruitt

Today’s articles talk about who’s most likely to believe fake news reports, Google News’ upcoming redesign, and the ongoing shenanigans of a whole pile of Trumpsters, including Michael Cohen, Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and Scott Pruitt.

5 Things to Read Today

NiemanLab: People who are delusional, dogmatic, or religious fundamentalists are more likely to believe fake news
NiemanLab has a quick rundown on a new paper from a bunch of Yale researchers. The paper indicates that people who are prone to delusional ideas, religious fundies, and the dogmatically inclined are more likely to believe fake news reports, which is not at all surprising if you’ve been paying any attention at all. There’s also some other interesting tidbits in there.

Ars Technica: Google News to be revamped, incorporate YouTube videos and magazines
It’s redesign time at Google, and they’re planning to dress up Google News a bit, and have it pull in YouTube videos and magazine articles. Which is fine, I guess. As long as they’re careful which YouTube videos they use. A lot of hoaxes, fake news, and hateful trash spreads virally on YouTube.

NBC News: Feds monitored Trump Lawyer Michael Cohen’s phones
Well this story went to hell in a hand basket. It was originally reported that the feds had Cohen’s phones wiretapped, but since yesterday the story has been amended, revised and updated to death, and now it’s a non-story. Now instead of a wiretap, Cohen’s phones were monitored with what’s called a “pen register,” which is just a list of who he called and when. Which, importantly, is a perfectly normal and non-explosive thing to be doing during an investigation. Dammit, NBC.

New York Times: Trump Undercuts Giuliani About Payments to Stormy Daniels 
Trump’s newest lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, had a field day on the news the last day or so, spouting off all sorts of ridiculousness and copping to all sorts of federal crimes on Trump’s behalf. It was pretty crazy. Now Trump’s trying to walk it back. I assume because a real lawyer got a hold of him and was all like, “Dude.”

CNN: Pruitt reimbursed himself $65,000 from Oklahoma attorney general campaign
Everyone’s favorite weirdo, Scott Pruitt, is back in the news. Turns out he payed himself back a crap-ton of money, out of two of his election runs. And that might be a serious violation of federal campaign finance laws. Or it might not. It’s hard to tell, because his record keeping was so very vaguely worded. I’d say that in and of itself is a bad sign. Also, that guy is up to almost a dozen ethics inquiries into his actions, and he still isn’t resigning.