In A Blatant Attack On Press Freedom, Brazilian Government Charges Glenn Greenwald With 'Cybercrimes' For Reporting On Leaked Documents

from the silencing-the-press dept

I don't always agree with Glenn Greenwald, and over the last few years have grown increasingly frustrated with either his confusing and contradictory positions or his bizarre stubbornness in being purposefully obtuse in his explanations of his positions. However, his general commitment to freedom of the press is hard to question. Over the last few years, Greenwald has been particularly focused on reporting about the federal government of Jair Bolsonaro in his adopted home of Brazil. Given that Bolsonaro has a reputation for attacking the press, many people wondered how long it would take for the Brazilian government to go after Greenwald.

And, indeed, today it was announced that Greenwald has been charged with "cybercrimes" for his reporting on leaked documents regarding the current Justice Minister, Sergio Moro, who was the federal judge who oversaw the trial of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Many in Brazil, including Greenwald, have argued that the corruption trial and jailing of Lula was a corrupt show trial designed to get Lula out of office and prevent his re-election in 2018 (when Bolsonaro was elected). The leaked documents showed that Moro, while presiding over the trial, worked closely with prosecutors and helped them strategize.

Since then, there has been speculation that the government was trying to build a case against Greenwald. In July, Greenwald was called before a Congressional committee in which he was directly told he should be jailed. Back in August, the Brazilian Supreme Court actually put a stop to an attempt to investigate Greenwald, after Bolsonaro himself called for Greenwald to be jailed.

However, that appears not to have actually stopped the government's attempts to find some reason to throw Greenwald in jail. The charges against Greenwald argue that he wasn't just reporting on the leaked documents, but that he was part of a "criminal organization" and worked with people to hack into the phones of officials in order to access the documents:

Citing intercepted messages between Mr. Greenwald and the hackers, prosecutors say the journalist played a “clear role in facilitating the commission of a crime.”

For instance, prosecutors contend that Mr. Greenwald encouraged the hackers to delete archives that had already been shared with The Intercept Brasil, in order to cover their tracks.

Prosecutors also say that Mr. Greenwald was communicating with the hackers while they were actively monitoring private chats on Telegram, a messaging app.

Some may argue that there is a fine line between reporting on leaked documents and encouraging people to hack to get those documents, but from what's described so far, Greenwald's actions sound like pretty typical efforts by a journalist to work with whistleblowing sources to help them protect themselves. Telling people to delete their archive is just good security advice for a source to protect themselves, and should never be seen as meaning that you're a part of the hacking activity. But, of course, when an oppressive government wants to blur the lines, that's what happens. Indeed, this is quite similar to many of the DOJ's charges against Julian Assange, taking standard journalistic practices and arguing that they make you an accomplice.

For now Greenwald is (as you would expect) not backing down, and claiming (with good reason) that this is an attack on a free press in Brazil. In a lengthy statement he gave to the Daily Beast, it's clear what he thinks of these charges:

“The Bolsonaro government and the movement that supports it has made repeatedly clear that it does not believe in basic press freedoms—from Bolsonaro's threats against Folha to his attacks on journalists that have incited violence to Sergio Moro’s threats from the start to classify us as ‘allies of the hackers’ for revealing his corruption,” Greenwald said in a statement to The Daily Beast.

“Less than two months ago, the Federal Police, examining all the same evidence cited by the Public Ministry, stated explicitly that not only have I never committed any crime but that I exercised extreme caution as a journalist never even to get close to any participation,” he continued. “Even the Federal Police under Minister Moro's command said what is clear to any rational person: I did nothing more than do my job as a journalist—ethically and within the law.”

He also calls out that Supreme Court ruling from last August:

“It is also on an attack on the Brazilian Supreme Court, which ruled in July that I am entitled to have my press freedom protected in response to other retaliatory attacks from Judge Moro, and even an attack on the findings of the Federal Police, which concluded explicitly after a comprehensive investigation that I committed no crimes and solely acted as a journalist.

“We will not be intimidated by these tyrannical attempts to silence journalists. I am working right now on new reporting and will continue to do so. Many courageous Brazilians sacrificed their liberty and even life for Brazilian democracy and against repression, and I feel an obligation to continue their noble work.”

No matter what you think of Greenwald, this appears to be an intimidation technique by the Bolsonaro government, and an outright attack on a free press.

Of course, it also has one other effect: I hadn't followed closely that original story about Moro and his collaboration with prosecutors while being the judge in a case. Yet now I've gone back to read all of the reporting on it, and it certainly suggests a deeply, deeply corrupt Brazilian government.

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Filed Under: brazil, corruption, free speech, glenn greenwald, intimidation, jair bolsanro, journalism, press freedom, reporting, sergio moro
Companies: the intercept


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  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 21 Jan 2020 @ 10:50am

    Corrupt governments don't like a free press. Sounds familiar.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2020 @ 11:14am

    I had forgotten about Assange but wondered if there was pressure from the USA over the reporting of Snowdon's leaks?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Jan 2020 @ 6:20am

      Re:

      "but wondered if there was pressure from the USA over the reporting of Snowdon's leaks?"

      Oh there was about Assange. In Snowden's case - well, he was one of the roughly million civilian consultants the DHS had to use in order to fulfil their bloated agenda, so his "sources" was, primarily, the material he had direct access to.

      Assange went looking for shady shenanigans and informers.
      Snowden had the information inflicted on him and had to act.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 11:46am

    Sorry, you're not allowed to hear that

    Authoritarianism is all the rage these days. Given that, no one should be surprised when other governments go further than mere cooperation in silencing dissent of any kind, especially when they are a public as journalists. Expect lots of more than cooperation.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2020 @ 11:55am

      Re: Sorry, you're not allowed to hear that

      Yes, and unfortunately, it seems that EVERY government is keen to jump on board.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2020 @ 12:27pm

        Re: Re: Sorry, you're not allowed to hear that

        They no longer care to be subtle whatsoever.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Jan 2020 @ 6:22am

          Re: Re: Re: Sorry, you're not allowed to hear that

          "They no longer care to be subtle whatsoever."

          Because when soviet russia, the warsaw pact states, and china 1989 did it, it was bad.

          But now that the US is the one doing most of it, it's no longer considered the monstrous practice that it in reality is.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Glenn Fan, 21 Jan 2020 @ 12:43pm

    re: obtuse?

    Techdirt and its chatbot -led comment forum (which was cool in its genesis, in the early aughts )routinely, and regularly shits on real, actual activists, commenters, and stringers, and our scoops

    For example, when has the establishment Techdirt EVER had a scoop?

    Never? Yup.Thats the right response.

    So, who cares what your opinion of Glenn is? Youre a lawyer, not a journalist.Glenn is ALL THAT, with cupcakes.

    Masnick, you only scoop easy likes from establishment goons, and cough Stephen Stones Nazi Papa Underwear® crowd.

    Your days are numbered, unless you get off your ass and investigate, like Glenn does .

    Playing it safespace gets lots of people killed, jailed, stalked, maligned, etc., and your hands are in that too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 1:08pm

      Re: re: obtuse?

      It's hilarious that you call Techdirt "establishment" considering that it led the fight to oppose SOPA/PIPA and ACTA, among other bad legislation…

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 1:10pm

      Re: re: obtuse?

      Techdirt has had at least one scoop. It was several years ago, but that isn't even relevant. Techdirt is a blog that comments on things it wants to. For that, some research is necessary, but investigation is not.

      Glenn Greenwald is an investigative journalist who's news website is about investigating things it wants to, and one of them is government corruption. So one can have an opinion about how Glenn goes about what he goes about without being a lawyer. That opinion might be favorable, or not, and the opinion might be about what Glenn chooses to cover, rather than Glenn himself. It might also be about how Glenn goes about the covering the stories he does, rather than Glenn himself. There are differences.

      Also, I am really curious, how is having, and expressing an opinion gonna get people killed, stalked or jailed?

      You've had your rant, now go grow up.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 1:11pm

      Re: re: obtuse?

      Also, Techdirt and the Copia Institute has had many scoops, e.g. The Sky Is Rising, the fact that the RIAA is actually making more money thus negating their need for anti-piracy legislation, the "Protocols-not-platforms" idea which led to Twitter adopting the idea, etc.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 1:14pm

      So, who cares what your opinion of Glenn is?

      You.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      wshuff (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 1:27pm

      Re: re: obtuse?

      Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait just a minute . . . Mike’s a lawyer?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2020 @ 3:07pm

      Re: re: obtuse?

      “Your days are numbered”

      Your boi Shiva said that and then he lost so bad no ones heard from him since bro.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    OA (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 3:31pm

    Mr. Masnick:

    I don't think the mainstream media [MSM] is always, or even frequently, dishonest. I think they often are sloppy or get details wrong, but not out of a desire to mislead, but rather due to not fully understanding the issues or getting a distorted view.

    Also Mr. Masnick:

    I don't always agree with Glenn Greenwald, and over the last few years have grown increasingly frustrated with either his confusing and contradictory positions or his bizarre stubbornness in being purposefully obtuse in his explanations of his positions.

    The 1st comment, written last May, irritated me. It was written during election season, no less, when the media is nearly at peak terribleness. The MSM has become practically dishonest by definition, routinely telling flagrant lies. Media now has "fact checkers" who also flagrantly lie... It is powerful enough to build its own bubble to exist in. AND it draws others in also. Unreality is the prime attribute of bubbles. It allows those in the bubble to appear honest, if you choose not to notice the falsehoods.

    But, it gets worse. MSM is not only dishonest and thus miseducates, it teaches people how to interpret and react to information and experiences. Like most politicians, MSM stokes negative human tendencies creating control and conformity. One of its effects is relatively new: In the information age people have become adept at converting their biases, prejudices and desires into falsehoods and aggressive certainty and then projecting them outward. Truth is a function of what one can successfully assert. MSM style. True discussion is almost impossible, instead we have a battle of bubbles. Fake truths are a function of human powers, not reality.

    Media is an extremely important function. Media's power is meant to serve that function. Mr. Masnick first's quote above is the typical way people talk about powerful, influential or privileged entities. He's practically shrugging in that comment. Causal justification and excuse making. Like the way your boss talks about your lazy, incompetent co-worker, who's the boss' favorite. No frustration. No sharp language. Compare that with the Greenwald comment: Greenwald is easily outside the mainstream and thus less powerful and more vulnerable. That comment? No casual justification. No excuse making. Sharp language and frustration for a person, from what I can tell, appears to be a brave and responsible journalist.

    Perhaps, I'm being unreasonable?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 3:45pm

      Re:

      Quiet, Mr. Greenwald.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        OA (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 6:43pm

        Re: Re:

        You got me. :)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 22 Jan 2020 @ 7:14am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Be fair, Thad. When it seems that everyone is coming at you with knives, anything that looks like it might be sharp is automatically suspicious.

          Mr. Greenwald, settle down. You're among friends. We might not agree with you all the time but we're certainly not out to get you.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Jan 2020 @ 8:03am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Mr. Greenwald, settle down. You're among friends. We might not agree with you all the time but we're certainly not out to get you."

            Except when we are, of course.

            But having people come after you with knives is, as a journalist, just a sign that you're doing something right.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              JoeCool (profile), 22 Jan 2020 @ 11:32am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              It's been said that you're not a real a journalist unless you've gotten death threats. :)

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 23 Jan 2020 @ 2:46am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Or been called crazy by a celebrity columnist.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 23 Jan 2020 @ 7:13am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "It's been said that you're not a real a journalist unless you've gotten death threats. :)"

                Ah, the romantic old days when a journalist was someone who tracked down and exposed local union shenanigans, city hall, and was used to hearing some goon grunting "Mr. Gordon is VERY upset" coming from dark alleys...

                Today more often than not that journalist just gets "We can't print this, it'd upset Mr. Gordon" from his editor.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2020 @ 3:45pm

      Re:

      Media put slant on everything so geared towards attracting the most viewers and readers for sale of advertising. Keeping itself out of lawsuits just barely this side of yellow journalism is a fine art.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 4:48pm

        Re: Re:

        Mainstream media has a lot of problems, including the ones you point out. But I would add that the way they go about 'reporting' 'news' about/from government or politicians (aka stenography) they should be charging government and politicians for their previously free advertising. Then, when that becomes known (or at least more apparent) to the general public, they will have a better appreciation for the current state of mainstream media, on the low side of the hill and sliding rapidly downward.

        That, in turn, highlights the need for independent investigative journalists. The problems come in that independents are less protected than those that work for the mainstream press, and usually have a harder time funding their efforts. I don't see a quick turnaround for these issues, but hopefully there is a horizon.

        As to bias, or methodology, or technique, an objective editor to reign in exuberance could be beneficial, if one could be 1) afforded and 2) respected enough to control what goes out on the wires.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          OA (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 6:55pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Actual reporters, especially independent ones, are increasingly under attack. Even in the US.

          Unfortunately, the 'stenographers' have an increasingly big megaphone that can drown out the real reporting.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Jan 2020 @ 6:48am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Unfortunately, the 'stenographers' have an increasingly big megaphone that can drown out the real reporting."

            To be expected when one of the more harmful ways Trump damaged media credibility is by trying to ban anyone writing a single negative line about him from press briefings.

            Media has always been skewed but used to adhere to a few core rules no matter which politicians axe they were grinding. Until quite recently when the midden hit the windmill, courtesy of His Smugness, the Cheese Wheel of the United States.

            Even Cheney, Rumsfeld and Ashcroft only manipulated their own bureaucracies in order to spin their narrative. they didn't try to extort the media to lie directly.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 22 Jan 2020 @ 7:16am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Actual reporters, especially independent ones, are increasingly under attack.

            Indeed. Carole Cadwalladr is constantly getting hammered. Now Piers "Phone hacker" Morgan is on on the act.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        OA (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 6:47pm

        Re: Re:

        Unfortunately most media is now corporate media. So, their behavior can be as complex as the giant, often multinational, companies that own them.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2020 @ 7:47pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Centralization of news media in US in the nineties by the government killed free press as we knew it. That's why government is fighting hard against these freelancing investigative journalists, and fighting even harder against the leakers of documents that expose corruption.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Jan 2020 @ 6:53am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Unfortunately most media is now corporate media. So, their behavior can be as complex as the giant, often multinational, companies that own them."

          It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't issue.

          When the media's a corporate interest with profit motive they'll skew their presentations the way which will gain them the most money.

          When the media is a government agency they'll present their view to benefit whatever party is in power, and tell the story the white house WANTS told.

          Best would be a combination of both, after all, ANY media organization telling a lie or acting like a spin doctor should be great news for the other side. Only problem with THAT idea is that it gives us the current Fox and CNN...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 3:55pm

      Perhaps, I'm being unreasonable?

      Ain’t no maybe about it, son.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2020 @ 4:02pm

        Re:

        The fanboi is strong in this one.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        OA (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 7:19pm

        Re:

        [I don't think you have ever responding to any of my (meager # of) comments. Does this make me a troll, now? ;) ]...

        On-line as well as IRL I prefer to listen much, talk (write) little.

        I am willing to consider a critique. Good, sincere critique is rare, lately.

        I hope you do not believe that either you, Mr. Masnick or the Techdirt community itself is invulnerable to existing in a bubble. It doesn't work like that. These days you avoid it by identifying the possible bubbles and denying them.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Spot On, 21 Jan 2020 @ 10:48pm

          Re: Re:

          re: Sharp language and frustration for a person, from what I can tell, appears to be a brave and responsible journalist.

          Your criticism is 100% true, and quite insightful.

          TD, suffers the same strawman driven, partisan echo chamber that most other media suffers from, with extra Mockingbird, whereas Greenwald at least appears to have taken an Ethics in Journalism class at some point.

          This is a media pundit driven site, feuled by quippy commentary, and many vapid commenters who know nothing about journalism.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2020 @ 11:12pm

            Re: Re: Re:

            It's cute that you think having an opinion and expressing it, without fulfilling whatever fantasy standard you have in your head, is supposed to be some kind of damning point.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
              identicon
              Spot On, 22 Jan 2020 @ 6:16am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: cute as pejorative

              Ummm...wut? Are you flirting with me?

              Blahblahblah.

              Do you even know what ethics are?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            OA (profile), 22 Jan 2020 @ 8:08am

            Re: Re: Re:

            TD, suffers the same strawman driven, partisan echo chamber that most other media suffers from, with extra Mockingbird, whereas Greenwald at least appears to have taken an Ethics in Journalism class at some point.

            This is a media pundit driven site, feuled by quippy commentary, and many vapid commenters who know nothing about journalism.

            I find your comment too sharp and suspiciously hostile (but I would not have hidden this comment - I don't know if the community sees you as a regular troll). If this were true, I wouldn't come here so often. BUT, they are not invulnerable to echo chamber behavior. For instance, I didn't care for the two articles, I noticed, about the possible health effects of 5G. I'm a technology enthusiast (?). Both Techdirt and I would have a possible, if not likely, bias in favor of disregarding this idea. I felt the articles did not only not address this probable bias, they might have leaned into it. The comments echoed. Contrary to recent attitudes, objectivity is a thing.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Jan 2020 @ 8:23am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "For instance, I didn't care for the two articles, I noticed, about the possible health effects of 5G. I'm a technology enthusiast (?). Both Techdirt and I would have a possible, if not likely, bias in favor of disregarding this idea."

              From a strictly technological perspective the 5G hype doesn't make sense, Full stop.

              It's basically about increasing bandwidth by increasing frrequency and signal falloff to the point where the signal masts turn into wifi access points - with a similar range.
              A fraction of the intended expenditure for 5G would, otoh, be able to boost the 4G network to nominal capacity instead of the barely 3G or EDGE speeds it offers to much of the US were the money spent there instead.

              So at least from my own perspective the question of whether 5G offers health effects or not is not only redundant until the elephant in the room is addressed first - if you suspect health effects stemming from electromagnetic radiation in that frequency then surely it would be far more important to first address the possible hazards of the wifi setups already in place in every home and office which are, effectively, 5G equivalents.

              I'm not surprised most of the TD crowd doesn't address the "health effects" of a hypothetical future network of transmitters whose agent of alleged ill effect is already present in the same capacity in our own homes.

              TL;DR

              We do not discuss the orbital spin of Russel's Teapot until someone shows us where it is.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 22 Jan 2020 @ 7:23am

          Re: Re:

          I hope you do not believe that either you, Mr. Masnick or the Techdirt community itself is invulnerable to existing in a bubble. It doesn't work like that. These days you avoid it by identifying the possible bubbles and denying them.

          There's a varied bunch of people posting here, bringing a wide range of opinions with them from hard right to full-on socialist, with every kind of permutation in between. I came in as a front-end website designer and developer with basic skills looking for information on SOPA. I've been here ever since. I'm basically conservative, Bull Moose edition.

          Thad, Uriel, and Stephen are progressive, btr and SDM are more right wing. Each of us is pretty vocal about what we believe in and why, therefore any bubble that ever forms here will pop pretty quickly.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Jan 2020 @ 8:12am

            Re: Re: Re:

            "Thad, Uriel, and Stephen are progressive, btr and SDM are more right wing."

            ...by european standards I'm right-wing, Wendy. By US standards I'd be a flaming leftist. Strangely enough still a conservative one.

            I don't believe in privatization of health care, education, or, god forbid, law enforcement, for instance.

            But I do believe there are plenty of pies the government should pull it's sticky, inept fingers from, because if i should pay the highest proportional taxes in the western hemisphere then i'll get really cranky every time some hamfisted inept government politicrat decides to spend that money on some thinly veiled pork barrel project.

            It's worth mentioning because US readers aren't necessarily going to realize that even the hardcore right-wing in the rest of the G20 still often support nationalized health care, the US being unique in not having any semblance of that.
            Bernie would count as a european centrist.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              OA (profile), 22 Jan 2020 @ 9:15am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              ...by european standards I'm right-wing, Wendy. By US standards I'd be a flaming leftist. Strangely enough still a conservative one.

              Perfect example of how the use of labels is not good. Use labels too much and you find that you "know" things that are meaningless or completely untrue.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 23 Jan 2020 @ 2:51am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Perfect example of how the use of labels is not good. Use labels too much and you find that you "know" things that are meaningless or completely untrue.

                They become untrue when misused or when the Overton Window shifts. It's the misuse that annoys me. I've given up trying to correct people -- even the farthest of Far Right types are trying to present themselves as centrist.

                Now "Centrist" is a dirty word on the equally clueless partisan Far Left.

                Get the partisanship out of the equation, then we can discuss the matter like adults. Thankfully, there are plenty of adults here.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 23 Jan 2020 @ 2:48am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Bernie would count as a european centrist.

              Yes he would.

              I've noticed that anyone who's not on their knees worshipping Trump is a flaming leftist these days, as is anyone with an ounce of compassion.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 23 Jan 2020 @ 7:20am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "I've noticed that anyone who's not on their knees worshipping Trump is a flaming leftist these days, as is anyone with an ounce of compassion."

                Still better than being a "liberal" which is, apparently, a baby-eating homosexual of ambiguous gender identity.

                I'm sure eisenhower, Franklin and lincoln would be concerned with that definition, but hey, language evolves...

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 23 Jan 2020 @ 7:27am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  People who refuse to pick a side are automatically suspect on both sides of the aisle. When I posted on G+ the right wingers used to bash me for not walking in lockstep with them. The lefties would then smack me around for not walking in lockstep with them. Partisans don't like us to think for ourselves.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            OA (profile), 22 Jan 2020 @ 9:07am

            Re: Re: Re:

            There's a varied bunch of people posting here, bringing a wide range of opinions with them from hard right to full-on socialist, with every kind of permutation in between.

            Bubbles are a force of social nature (one might say). They don't respect self identifications in label form. This is a logical statement, but a particular logic doesn't always apply. Logic is "absolute", therefore it is only valid in very limited scenarios. Also, 'logic scales with the user' (quoting myself). A user must truly understand the nature of what they are applying logic to. [I'm not saying the last two sentences apply to you]

            I came in as a front-end website designer and developer with basic skills...

            Hmmmm. Many of us here are in computer specific fields.

            I'm basically conservative...

            I've noticed and remember.

            Thad, Uriel, and Stephen are progressive...

            I remember Thad and Uriel. I didn't know they were progressives.

            ...btr and SDM are more right wing.

            I think I remember btr. Thanks for the info. I sometimes don't pay attention to who writes what. I tend to focus on the content, but knowing the author IS sometimes important.

            As for me, I don't use labels. Not because I'm a hipster or too cool or something. Labels are not useful to me and are rarely applicable. While labels make "knowing" things "easier", they often interfere with understanding (example: try REALLY listening to be people discuss politics).

            ...any bubble that ever forms here will pop pretty quickly.

            You cannot say something like this in a broad, generic way.

            Also, the bubble metaphor falls apart here. Sometimes bubbles are "mapped" to power structures (like organizations). When the structure collapses the bubble simply gets transferred. Bubbles are about clinging to unrealities. Bubbles don't pop, they are dismantled.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 23 Jan 2020 @ 3:01am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Bubbles are about clinging to unrealities. Bubbles don't pop, they are dismantled.

              Eh, if you say so. The fact is, in my lived experience as a TD reader and commenter, any attempt to cling to unreality tends to get dismantled by other commenters pretty quickly. In that scenario, the bubble persists but can't grow much because you are either led by stone cold logic and facts or by warm, fuzzy feelings and the principle of the thing.

              If we accept that as true, any bubble that does form is confined to the subgroup of people who subscribe to a particular set of beliefs, e.g. "Trump is teh awesome, snowflakes!" or "Copyright is the only way a creative person can make a living." Such people have their statements countered with factual statements and links to evidence, forcing anyone in those bubbles to deny that the statements and evidence are true or to change the subject and rant, as they usually do. What I'm saying is, TD readers as an audience don't end up in one big TD bubble because we argue too much to allow that to happen. Heck, I've argued with each of the main article authors at one time or another, and with the respected regular commenters when I thought they were wrong.

              We all do. If you can find one issue in which we all (or even the majority) walk in lockstep refusing to accept reality I'd like to see it. I haven't seen it yet.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          bhull242 (profile), 26 Jan 2020 @ 7:58pm

          Re: Re:

          Is it completely invulnerable? No. However, I do think that for many of us, we generally have at least some defenses against it, like Hitchen’s Razor and such.

          Is it possible that we have developed a bubble in some areas? Sure. Of course, by its nature, those within a bubble have a hard time realizing it. A neutral outsider might be able to discern an echo chamber from other groups, but insiders who agree don’t really have anything to compare it to.

          That said, as far as echo chambers go, it’s relatively weak in that a number of us differ on a number of issues that come up on this site. Stuff like should copyright just be abolished entirely or be fixed? Is Epic Games’ strategy of timed exclusives fundamentally good or bad? What is proper or improper moderation? A lot of echo chambers pretty much universally and unanimously agree on just about everything, barring a few dissenters that get shouted down.

          I’m not saying we shouldn’t be wary about becoming an echo chamber, but I think that, for the most part at least, we’re doing relatively okay so far. The wide variety of political alignments (Euro left, Euro right, American left, American right, libertarian, centrist, etc.) helps with that.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2020 @ 7:56pm

      Re:

      People are being taken in and lead by MSM as you say even to the point of acting on bias they pick up from the media hook, line and sinker.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Jan 2020 @ 6:44am

      Re:

      "Mr. Masnick first's quote above is the typical way people talk about powerful, influential or privileged entities. He's practically shrugging in that comment. Causal justification and excuse making. Like the way your boss talks about your lazy, incompetent co-worker, who's the boss' favorite. No frustration. No sharp language."

      Because "Mainstream media" is a...LOT of independent and unrelated news agencies. Using sharp language at that conglomerate is akin to saying "Oh, if just The Press would go away".

      Mainstream media isn't always, or even frequently, dishonest. If it were the particular media agency in question would stop being mainstream quickly and end up becoming...infowars, perhaps. Or breitbart. Even as bad as journalism has gotten there are certain core rules even Fox and CNN abide by.

      Just note that in order to portray a media bias or spin the news, dishonesty is not required. A simple change in point of view and a more or less sympathetic/condemning tone is quite enough to completely overturn the context and rewrite the story John and Jane Q Doe perceive to be told.

      Under normal circumstances or in better times that skew is not enough to render the media irrelevant or misleading. In the last 30 years or so though, shit has rapidly gone downhill.

      Media now lies by omission or by assumption. Still not frequently, still not always deliberately. But as several former Fox employees have mentioned, enough times to make a difference.

      Most importantly a lot of the "news" isn't news. "Fox and Friends", for instance, doesn't deal with news at all. It's just half a dozen people in comfortable couches telling the audience what is in their personal opinion wrong with the world. Lazy and clueless watchers drink it in like mother's milk because as long as some opinionated influencer provides the short summary and what Facts a to X actually means, they no longer have to think for themselves.

      But it's on TV so it must be true. That's what the normie wants today - his news prepackaged, analyzed, conclusions drawn, and all he really wants to know is who to root for. Between his day job and his sixpack John Q Doe isn't interested in drawing his own conclusion. That takes work and he's not getting paid for that.

      "Sharp language and frustration for a person, from what I can tell, appears to be a brave and responsible journalist."

      Masnick's personal opinion visavi an individual is another kettle of fish indeed. Because that opinion is something mike can stand for whereas I'm sure he'll have different opinions on, say, reuters visavi the Fox Network and probably doesn't want to smear them both with the exact same invective.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jan 2020 @ 3:33pm

    If they took out a leader, he should have realized he is playing with dynomite.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    AnonyCog, 21 Jan 2020 @ 6:49pm

    Brazilian Bert and Ernie are getting dragged down Bolsonaro St. pretty apropro they chose to lie down there. There devil may care but I don't. I feel nothing....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 21 Jan 2020 @ 7:56pm

    Indeed, this is quite similar to many of the DOJ's charges against Julian Assange, taking standard journalistic practices and arguing that they make you an accomplice.

    In the same same sense that "advising someone they should lock their car door" and "taking a hammer to a stranger's window so your friend can grab the purse inside" are totally indistinguishable from one another...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Jan 2020 @ 7:04am

      Re:

      "In the same same sense that "advising someone they should lock their car door" and "taking a hammer to a stranger's window so your friend can grab the purse inside" are totally indistinguishable from one another..."

      Yes...and then again, no.

      You could argue that a journalist accepting, verifying, editing and printing a story based entirely on material someone else came over illegally or unlawfully is just doing his job the way it should be done.

      Whereas a journalist asking someone to obtain information illegally or unlawfully is skirting the ethical boundaries, and certainly overstepping the legal ones.

      Whistleblowers often end up as the third category - where the journalist himself commits a crime or unlawful act to bring the information out.

      All three of the above certainly fall under "standard" journalistic practice.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Zof (profile), 22 Jan 2020 @ 4:17am

    "I learned it from watcing you Dad."

    One of the neat perspectives you get when you give up on most American news, and you've moved on to Canadian and UK news and Entertainment is you get to see those places pick on us for having fake news, and manipulated tv shows. You get the truth through their eyes. You get hear them tell you the fake dossier is fake, and our media is insane. You get to watch their comedy shows, were we are the target. You get to see the truth in how they do that comedy about us.

    So, I'm not remotely surprised that smaller countries are trying to copy our model. We showed them it's ok to bullshit your entire population rather than admit nobody likes hillary clinton.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Jan 2020 @ 6:55am

    Brazil has always had a poor track record for free expression

    Brazil has a long record of criminalising speech as libel, even where that speech wouldn't meet the definition of civil libel in other countries. Their judicial system is broken and unreliable, it takes years to get anything to trial and there's no real way of predicting the outcome. While the worst of the 1980's dictatorship is supposedly over, any claims to democracy are fragile at best. It's basically impossible to do any sort of serious journalistic biography without being SLAPPed down by strategic lawsuits against public participation and, if even minor allegations of libel or racism are criminalised, Brazil is not above abusing Interpol resources to attempt to intimidate foreign webmasters into compromising personal identifying info to unmask individual Brazilian users.

    Certainly the Americans' hands are not clean in this, but there is a history of censorship and abuse of process in Brazil that goes back well beyond the current Russian-backed administration in the US.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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