Friday, November 9, 2018
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Communications and Democracy
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders the night of Nov 7 shared a video of CNN reporter Jim Acosta that appeared to have been altered to make his actions at a news conference look more aggressive toward a White House intern. The edited video looks authentic: Acosta appeared to swiftly chop down on the arm of an aide as he held onto a microphone while questioning President Donald Trump. But in the original video, Acosta’s arm appears to move only as a response to a tussle for the microphone. His statement, “Pardon me, ma’am,” is not included in the video Sanders shared.
Critics said that video — which sped up the movement of Acosta’s arms in a way that dramatically changed the journalist’s response — was deceptively edited to score political points. That edited video was first shared by Paul Joseph Watson, known for his conspiracy-theory videos on the far-right website Infowars.
Sanders accused Acosta of “placing his hands on a young woman” and said his press credentials would be suspended “until further notice.”
The “fake news” wars have reached a new peak. While the president continues to accuse journalists and his opponents of spreading “fake news,” evidence mounts of extensive right-wing disinformation efforts, many aimed at boosting President Doanld Trump and sowing discord among his opponents. The result: Those who cry “fake news” the loudest remain the ones most responsible for circulating it. President Trump and his supporters have dominated the conversation on “fake news” by repackaging a political tactic as old as American democracy itself. But in addition to hurling charges of a misleading press, the right is also generating actual fake news, forcing the left to fight an unprecedented two-pronged war against disinformation. The strategy behind Trump's words remains familiar: neutralize criticism, sow distrust of political opponents, and position himself as the final arbiter of fact and fiction. With a historically unpopular leader, the Republicans have much to gain from an approach designed to increase polarization and solidify party loyalty.
But while the right comfortably executes a time-tested strategy, the left faces a fresh set of challenges. In addition to fending off accusations of “fake news,” it has to counter something that, paradoxically, has never really been at issue in all of the previous rhetorical wars over misinformation: actual fake news. While politicians and the media have not always been truthful, the scale of this disinformation campaign is unprecedented in the history of the United States. And therein lies the problem. Democrats must adapt an old tool to a new purpose and convince the public that their accusations of deception are not just partisan maneuvering.
[Shira Lurie is a PhD candidate in history at the University of Virginia. She is completing a dissertation on political protest in the early United States]
Oregon transportation officials will try to negotiate an agreement with Facebook that would allow the company to use highway right of way for a 100-mile fiber broadband line serving its Prineville (OR) data center. In exchange for the unprecedented step of allowing a private enterprise to use the right of way, the Oregon Department of Transportation could gain access to broadband that would benefit Central Oregon in the future. State and local officials envision using the internet connectivity to transmit more real-time information to drivers or to enable use of autonomous vehicles.
Sprint has been slowing traffic to Microsoft’s internet-based video chat service Skype, according to new findings from an ongoing study by Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts. More than 100,000 consumers have used the researchers’ Wehe smartphone app to test internet connections. Among leading US carriers, Sprint was the only one to throttle Skype, the study found. The throttling was detected in 34% of 1,968 full tests — defined as those in which a user ran two tests in a row — conducted between Jan. 18 and Oct. 15. It happened regularly and was spread geographically across the United States.
The finding is particularly troubling because Skype relies on Sprint’s wireless internet network, but the app also provides a communication tool that competes with Sprint’s calling services, said David Choffnes, one of the researchers. "If you are a telephony provider and you provide IP services over that network, then you shouldn’t be able to limit the service offered by another telephony provider that runs over the internet," Choffnes said. "From a pure common sense competition view, it seems directly anti-competitive."
Wall Street analysts are doing data differently. Banks for years have crunched data on company earnings, price targets and other mundane metrics for clients who might use the information to make investing and trading decisions. Now they are pulling data from social-media sentiment, geospatial mapping and other unorthodox sources. They are also increasingly making their data feeds available directly to clients, without the surrounding research notes that often go unread. The changes are the banks’ latest strategy to try to juice up interest in—and revenue from—their giant research arms that are struggling to stay relevant.
The Federal Communications Commission will hold an Open Meeting on the subjects listed below on Thursday, November 15, 2018:
- Waiver of Part 25 Licensing Requirements for Receive-Only Earth Stations Operating with the Galileo Radionavigation-Satellite Service (IB Docket No. 17-16): The Commission will consider an Order that addresses waivers of certain satellite licensing requirements for receive-only earth stations operating with the Galileo Radionavigation-Satellite Service.
- Mitigation of Orbital Debris in the New Space Age (IB Docket No. 18-313): The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing comprehensive updates to the Commission’s orbital debris rules for all Commission-authorized satellites.
- Facilitating the Communications of Earth Stations in Motion with Non-Geostationary Orbit Space Stations (IB Docket No. 18-315): The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing rules to facilitate the deployment of non-geostationary orbit fixed-satellite service earth stations that transmit while in motion.
- Space Exploration Holdings, LLC (IBFS File No. SAT-LOA-20170301-00027); Application for Approval for Orbital Deployment and Operating Authority for the Space X V-band NGSO Satellite System (Call Sign S2992): The Commission will consider a Memorandum Opinion, Order and Authorization that would grant SpaceX’s request to deploy and operate a proposed non-geostationary constellation to provide broadband services around the world.
- Kepler Communications, Inc. (IBFS File No. SAT-PDR-20161115-00114); Petition for Declaratory Ruling to Grant Access to the U.S. Market for Kepler’s NGSO FSS System (Call Sign S2981): The Commission will consider an Order and Declaratory Ruling that would grant Kepler’s request for U.S. market access to offer global connectivity for the Internet of Things using a proposed constellation of non-geostationary orbit satellites.
- Telesat Canada (IBFS File No. SAT-PDR-20170301-00023); Petition for Declaratory Ruling to Grant Access to the U.S. Market for Telesat’s V-Band NGSO Constellation (Call Sign S2991): The Commission will consider an Order and Declaratory Ruling that would grant Telesat’s request to access the U.S. market to provide broadband services using a proposed constellation of non-geostationary orbit satellites.
- LeoSat MA, Inc. (IBFS File No. SAT-PDR-20161115-00112); Petition for Declaratory Ruling Concerning U.S. Market Access for the LeoSat Ka-band Low-Earth Orbit Satellite System (Call Sign S2979): The Commission will consider an Order and Declaratory Ruling that would grant LeoSat’s request for U.S. market access to provide satellite broadband services in the United States using a proposed constellation of non-geostationary orbit satellites, including high-speed connectivity for enterprises.
- Further Streamlining Part 25 Rules Governing Satellite Services (IB Docket No. 18-314): The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking addressing additional streamlining of space and earth station licensing rules.
- Amendment of the Commission’s Policies and Rules for Processing Applications in the Direct Broadcast Satellite Service (IB Docket No. 06-160): The Commission will consider a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to align the DBS licensing procedures with those of the geostationary fixed-satellite service.
- Electronic Delivery of MVPD Communications (MB Docket No. 17-317); Modernization of Media Regulation Initiative (MB 17-105): The Commission will consider a Report and Order that would modernize certain consumer notice provisions in Part 76 of the FCC’s Rules governing multichannel video and cable television service.
- Revisions to Reporting Requirements Governing Hearing Aid-Compatible Mobile Handsets (WT Docket No. 17-228): The Commission will consider a Report and Order that would replace requirements for wireless service providers to report annually on their offerings of hearing aid-compatible handsets with a requirement to provide enhanced information on their websites and to certify annually whether providers are in full compliance with the hearing aid compatibility rules.
Benton (www.benton.org) provides the only free, reliable, and non-partisan daily digest that curates and distributes news related to universal broadband, while connecting communications, democracy, and public interest issues. Posted Monday through Friday, this service provides updates on important industry developments, policy issues, and other related news events. While the summaries are factually accurate, their sometimes informal tone may not always represent the tone of the original articles. Headlines are compiled by Kevin Taglang (headlines AT benton DOT org) and Robbie McBeath (rmcbeath AT benton DOT org) — we welcome your comments.
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