Anti-Trump Ad Demonstrates Both The Streisand Effect & Masnick's Impossibility Theorem

from the a-case-study dept

Well, this one hits the sweet spot of topics I keep trying to demonstrate: both a Streisand Effect and Masnick's Impossibility Theorem. As you may have heard, a group of Republican political consultants and strategists, who very much dislike Donald Trump, put together an effort called The Lincoln Project, which is a PAC to campaign against Trump and Trumpian politics. They recently released an anti-Trump campaign ad about his terrible handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, called Mourning in America, which is a reference to Ronald Reagan's famous Morning in America campaign ad for the 1984 Presidential election. The new ad is, well, pretty powerful:

And while it's unlikely to convince Trump fans deep into their delusions, it certainly got under the President's skin. He went on one of his famous late night Twitter temper tantrums about the ad, and later lashed out at the Lincoln Project when talking to reporters. He was super, super mad.

And what did that do? Well, first it got the ad a ton of views. Earlier this week, one of the Lincoln Project's founders, Rick Wilson, noted that the ad had already received 15 million views across various platforms in the day or so since the ad had been released. Also, it resulted in the Lincoln Project getting a giant boost in funding:

The Lincoln Project, which is run by Republican operatives who oppose President Donald Trump, raised $1 million after the president ripped the group on Twitter this week – marking it the super PAC’s biggest day of fundraising yet.

Reed Galen, a member of the Lincoln Project’s advisory committee, told CNBC that the total came after the president’s Tuesday morning Twitter tirade in reaction to an ad titled “Mourning in America,” which unloads on Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. It recently aired on Fox News, which Trump often watches and praises. Galen said it was the Lincoln Project’s best single-day fundraising haul

Not only that, but it has opened up more opportunity for the Lincoln Project team to get their word out. With so much interest in the ad, it opened up opportunities for the project members to get their message in various mainstream media sources. Reed Galen wrote a piece for NBC:

What we accomplished this week was not something to be celebrated. No commercial should have the power to derail the leader of the free world.

And another Lincoln Project founder, George Conway (who, of course, is the husband of Trump senior advisor Kellyanne Conway), wrote something similar for the Washington Post:

It may strike you as deranged that a sitting president facing a pandemic has busied himself attacking journalists, political opponents, television news hosts and late-night comedians — even deriding a former president who merely boasted that “the ‘Ratings’ of my News Conferences etc.” were driving “the Lamestream Media . . . CRAZY,” and floated bogus miracle cures, including suggesting that scientists consider injecting humans with household disinfectants such as Clorox.

If so, you’re not alone. Tens of thousands of mental-health professionals, testing the bounds of professional ethics, have warned for years about Trump’s unfitness for office.

Some people listened; many, including myself, did not, until it was too late.

That's the kind of media exposure you can't buy, but which you get when you have a President who appears wholly unfamiliar with the Streisand Effect.

And that then takes us to the Impossibility Theorem, regarding the impossibility of doing content moderation at scale well. After Trump's ongoing tirade, Facebook slapped a "Partly False" warning label on the video when posted on Facebook. While the whole situation is ridiculous, it's at least mildly amusing, considering how frequently clueless Trumpkins insist that Facebook censors "conservative" (by which they mean Trumpian) viewpoints. Also, somewhat ironic in all of this: the only reason that Facebook now places such fact check labels on things is because anti-Trump people yelled at how Facebook needed to do more fact checking of political content on its site. So, now you get this.

Part of the issue is that Politifact judged one line in the ad as "false." That line was that Trump "bailed out Wall St. but not Main St." Politifact says that since the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program has given potentially forgivable loans to some small businesses, and because the bill was done by Congress, not the President, that line is "false." And yet, because angry (usually anti-Trump) people demanded that Facebook do more useless fact checking, the end result is that the video now gets a "false" label.

Of course, this shows both the impossibility of doing content moderation well and the silliness of betting big on fact checking with a full "true or false" claim. One could argue that that line has misleading elements, but is true in most cases. Tons of small businesses are shuttering. Many businesses have been unable to get PPP loans, and under the current terms of the loans, they're useless for many (especially if they have no work for people to do, since the loans have to be mostly used on payroll over the next couple months). But does that make the entire ad "false"? Of course not.

And Rick Wilson is super mad about this. He's right to be mad about Politifact's designation, though it's really a condemnation of the religious focus on "true or false" in fact checking, rather than in focusing on what is misleading or not:

But the ad doesn’t actually claim that small businesses received zero help. Rather, it makes the point that Main Street America is still seriously struggling as the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic continues.

But Wilson is also mad at Facebook:

Speaking exclusively to Mediaite, Wilson called the decision “the typical fuckery we’ve come to expect from both the Trump camp and their tame Facebook allies.”

“Facebook is perfectly content to allow content from QAnon lunatics, anti-vaxxers, alt-righters, and every form of Trump/Russian — but I repeat myself — disinformation,” he pointed out. “This is a sign of just how powerfully ‘Mourning In America’ shook Donald Trump and his allies. Their attempt to censor our ad isn’t a setback for us; it’s a declaration of an information war we will win.”

Separately, the Lincoln Project also sent out an email to supporters, again blaming Facebook:

... it's no secret that Facebook has stood by and done little to nothing as lie after lie — from the Liar-In-Chief himself — runs wild on their platform.

(Oh, and let's also not forget the conspiracy theories, foreign disinformation campaigns and negligence that got Mark Zuckerberg questioned by the United States Congress.)

But, this? This is an entirely different and dangerous kind of collusion.

And what is Facebook's excuse for playing favorites with its recently-transferred former employees in the Trump campaign?

They say a "fact-checker" labeled our claim that "Donald Trump helped bailout Wall Street, not Main Street" was untrue.

....Really?

The email goes on to justify the "main street" line with a bunch of links, and then again argues that Facebook is "censoring the truth" to help Trump:

Is that "Partly False?" Of course not.

We told the truth about Donald Trump...

He lost his damn mind over it on Twitter...

Attacked us in front of Air Force One...

Then sent his spin machine to discredit us...

And now his allies at Facebook are doing his damage control by censoring the truth he doesn't like.

I get the frustration -- and I find it at least a bit ironic that the whole "fact checking" system was a response to anti-Trump folks mad at Facebook for allowing pro-Trump nonsense to spread -- but this is just another example of the Impossibility Theorem. There is no "good" solution here. We live in a time where everyone's trying to discredit everyone they disagree with, and many of these things depend on your perspective or your interpretation of a broad statement, like whether or not Trump is helping "main street."

We can agree that it's silly that Facebook has put this label on the video, but also recognize that it's not "Trump's allies at Facebook" working to "censor the truth he doesn't like." That's just absurd (especially given the reason the fact checking set up was put together in the first place).

But, hey, outrage and claims of censorship feed into the narrative (and feed into the Streisand Effect), so perhaps it all is just designed to work together.

Filed Under: donald trump, fact checking, fundraising, george conway, impossibility theorem, masnick's impossibility theorem, political ads, reed galen, rick wilson, streisand effect, super pac, temper tantrum
Companies: facebook, lincoln project, politifact


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  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 8 May 2020 @ 11:53am

    I wonder why they'd accuse Facebook of censorship to benefit Trump. It's not like they've had off the record meetings with him and put right wing misinformation peddler, and close personal friend and advisor of Donald Trump, Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller in a position to be the arbiters of truth...

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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 8 May 2020 @ 12:12pm

    How dare they treat me like I want them to treat the other guy.

    Edit the ad, lose the line or ad a fscking asterisk & explain what you meant better. Stop getting into the fscking weeds about this shit.

    I was called a hacker, identity thief, & a whole slew of names.
    I didn't stop & cry about it, demand it be censored, I kept being a giant pain in their asses. *

    Everyone contributed to this true false litmus testing bullshit being "needed", so fscking adapt the message stop putting energy into needless sidequests that give no actual rewards.

      • I lost my cool once after being called something by Pretenda.
        When they selectively included tweets of mine to make it look like I was all for passing out their social security numbers to cause them hassles when I specifically had said we could post the document BUT in this case we should honor the court retracting it because it will cause us hassles we don't need & thats not how we do things.

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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 8 May 2020 @ 12:19pm

    I don't have a FB so I dunno, but I am curious.
    I am guessing there is a Trump account there as well...
    How many of his posts are flagged as partially false?
    We know he can contradict himself and reality in the space of 45 seconds in a speech, so is his page covered in partially false?

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    • icon
      Koby (profile), 8 May 2020 @ 2:22pm

      Re:

      I don't have a FB so I dunno, but I am curious. I am guessing there is a Trump account there as well

      Although there are Facebook pages in his name, it doesn't appear that he uses it much, and it just puts out things like happy holidays official White House messages. In other words, no real content. The actual content and usage appears to be almost exclusive to twitter.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 8 May 2020 @ 11:09pm

      Re:

      He's purely a Twitter shitter from what I can tell.

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  • identicon
    Kalean, 8 May 2020 @ 12:27pm

    The running gag.

    I've been following Techdirt for 15+ years, and I have to say: this appears to be the perfect convergence of Mike's two broadest contributions to internet discourse.

    Mixed in with some of the best examples of bitter irony and self-awarewolves I've ever seen, this article just delivered a wry chuckle to me that's been building since before Youtube was a thing.

    Thanks, Mike. Keep being you.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 8 May 2020 @ 12:32pm

    Look, it's really not that difficult for honest people...

    Such a missed opportunity, they could have easily used this in their favor and supported, rather than undermined, their point.

    'So, as it turns out one of the statements in the ad was a little confusing to the point that it could be seen as misleading. While this was not our intention we accept that a mistake was made, and as a result we apologize for the confusion and will be removing that part, replacing it with what we feel is a more clear statement. While this will take some extra work on our part as people who care about the truth we feel it is important to make sure that our claims are are honest and accurate as possible, as any honest person would do in a similar situation.'

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2020 @ 2:23pm

      Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for honest people...

      This is even easier: "Bailed out" means "completely saved", not "kinda sorta maybe helped a small fraction of victims". Main Street was not remotely bailed out.

      But hey, the poor, poor lobbyists are going to get free money from the government in the next round because they are hurting so very badly, so no worries.

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      identicon
      AC, 9 May 2020 @ 9:39am

      Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for honest people...

      The statement that was removed is not the one that undermined their point. It was this one:

      "Donald Trump's failed presidency has left the nation weaker, sicker, and teetering on the verge of another Great Depression."

      Because I'm pretty sure the virus did those things, not Trump's "failed presidency."

      This type of manipulative trash was what got Trump elected in the first place, and that's where the failure was. Whether his presidency is a failure is a non-issue and undeserving of consideration.

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 9 May 2020 @ 10:04am

        Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for honest people..

        Because I'm pretty sure the virus did those things, not Trump's "failed presidency."

        The virus certainly deserves a good chunk of the blame but for that to be true similar effects would need to be taking place in basically every other country that's been hit, and as far as I know several of them are doing much better than the US at the moment thanks to actual leadership during the crisis rather than whatever you want to call Trump's response.

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        • identicon
          AC, 9 May 2020 @ 10:43am

          Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for honest peop

          Which other countries are you talking about? Hopefully not China, who hasn't reported a new death in how long? Hopefully not Italy, who per capita has arguably been the fastest, most heavily hit country in the world. Hopefully not Great Britain, which was recently reported as the new "epicenter" of the virus.

          In one sentence you just proved my point:

          "...but for that to be true similar effects would need to be taking place in basically every other country that's been hit, and as far as I know several of them are doing much better than the US at the moment..."

          You just used "basically every" and "several, as far as I know" referring to the same thing in the same sentence without providing any evidence to support your claim. You just used the same manipulative tool that a typical politician does.

          If you were president, do you think you would have handled it better? Do you think your candidate would have been on top of it sooner? Trump did what any politician would have done: he acted with his own interests in mind.

          Also, this is an unprecedented situation the likes of which nobody alive anytime recently has seen or had any experience dealing with.

          That was not my point with my original reply however. To illustrate my point for you, again, let's take a look at how the above statement might have been modified in the case that Trump did act sooner:

          "Donald Trump's failed presidency has left the nation weaker, poorer, and teetering on the verge of another Great Depression."

          He was going to get hammered unfairly and dishonestly either way, because that's the kind of behavior that political extremism encourages.

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          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 9 May 2020 @ 11:50am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for honest

            Which other countries are you talking about?

            Pick one, but if you want some specific examples you've got New Zealand, South Korea, and/or Iceland.

            If you were president, do you think you would have handled it better?

            Yes, but as that bar is so low you need to dig to get to it that's not saying much.

            Do you think your candidate would have been on top of it sooner?

            Didn't care for either but the alternative would have had to work overtime to do worse, so almost certainly yes.

            Trump did what any politician would have done: he acted with his own interests in mind.

            That's a terrible argument/excuse at best. A smart politician can only care about their own interests and still have done a better job than him so long as they were able to figure out that taking reasonable measures and being honest would leave them looking good during a crisis, which helps in the future.

            Also, this is an unprecedented situation the likes of which nobody alive anytime recently has seen or had any experience dealing with.

            If only there were people who's entire jobs revolve around infectious diseases and how best to handle them...

            He was going to get hammered unfairly and dishonestly either way, because that's the kind of behavior that political extremism encourages.

            And again, that's a terrible excuse. He may have been destined to be slammed in the media/public perception for being the president during a pandemic but had he actually responded well then that criticism would have had a lot harder time sticking.

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          • identicon
            Rocky, 9 May 2020 @ 3:08pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for honest

            You just used "basically every" and "several, as far as I know" referring to the same thing in the same sentence without providing any evidence to support your claim. You just used the same manipulative tool that a typical politician does.

            You just had to take his words out of context and place them in your conflated context. What does that make you?

            Btw, his statement can be easily be proven true by perusing the statistics for COVID-19 at https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

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            • identicon
              AC, 9 May 2020 @ 5:54pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for hon

              Nothing was taken out of the original context and put into a different one, the conversation remained within scope of the subject.

              It sounds like you either don't know what it means to take something out of context or, more likely, you don't have anything worth saying so you're falsely claiming that words were taken out of context in order to defend someone who you believe is more aligned with your own political beliefs.

              And yes, I have already looked at the numbers, and what I see is yes, a higher rate of infection in the U.S. than some other countries (which probably do not have the same testing capabilities that we do and thus less accurate numbers), although lower than some others and similar to many European countries, and a much lower death rate than has been reported in those same European countries that have similar infection rates. If you are familiar with something called mathematics, you can open up a program called Excel and plug these numbers into a spreadsheet and see for yourself.

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              • identicon
                Rocky, 9 May 2020 @ 6:56pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for

                Nothing was taken out of the original context and put into a different one, the conversation remained within scope of the subject.

                So why did you feel the need to change the scope of what he said? You specifically said that "basically every" and "several, as far as I know" refer to the same thing, but you left out the context for those words so it could fit your narrative. The context for "basically every" is that if what you say is true basically every country would have a similar dysfunctional response as what the current administration have provided - which he rightly points out isn't the case when he say "several, as I know" have a functional leadership (paraphrased).

                You essentially conflated dysfunctional with functional in your effort put his words in a context that would "prove" that he was wrong and manipulative. I think disingenuous is a word that fits that kind of argument.

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                • identicon
                  AC, 9 May 2020 @ 8:04pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult

                  TOG: apologies, I take back what I said about what you said, it was a misunderstanding.

                  Rocky: thank you for pointing that out, after reading his post again I realize I misunderstood the wording.

                  Now, if you would be so kind as to explain how the numbers alone prove his argument correct?

                  Keep in mind, the spread of a virus does not have a linear relationship with population size, it grows exponentially. In other words, all else equal, you would expect a country with a larger population to have a higher infection rate.

                  Also, I think three more things would need to be proven, which probably cannot be proven, for the argument to work:

                  1. If the administration had shut down the economy in early February, there would be significantly less infections and deaths as a result

                  2. The economic consequences of shutting down a month earlier to people who have lost their jobs and are no longer able to support themselves and their families are not worse than your significant decrease in infections/deaths

                  3. It is likely that, had it been your choice of scumbag politician in office, that person would have made a better decision given the circumstances

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 10 May 2020 @ 1:43am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for

                "a higher rate of infection in the U.S. than some other countries (which probably do not have the same testing capabilities that we do and thus less accurate numbers), although lower than some others and similar to many European countries, and a much lower death rate than has been reported in those same European countries that have similar infection rates"

                The difference being that ours are under control to the point of everything starting to reopen safely, whereas your are climbing at an exponential rate - despite the fact that you had far more time to act than we did.

                " If you are familiar with something called mathematics, you can open up a program called Excel and plug these numbers into a spreadsheet and see for yourself."

                No need, there's functionality on the site that was already linked. If I were you I'd look at each country individually, look at the "active cases" graph. Compare the shape of the graphs of Spain, Italy and Germany to the shape of the US one, and see if you can work out the problem.

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                • identicon
                  AC, 10 May 2020 @ 7:35pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult

                  What the hell are you talking about man? Where are you from? When you're looking at these graphs, are you factoring in that the U.S. has 5-7 times larger a population as some of these European countries with similar infection rates?

                  If you do not live in this country you should not be spreading any sort of information about what you think you know about the condition of things here. I don't do that for wherever you live.

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                  • identicon
                    Rocky, 11 May 2020 @ 1:45am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that diffi

                    You do understand the concepts of rates and trends, right?

                    You don't compare the absolute values, you compare how they change in relation to the population.

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                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 11 May 2020 @ 1:49am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that diffi

                    "are you factoring in that the U.S. has 5-7 times larger a population as some of these European countries"

                    Yes, I'm using per capita figures as well as trends which have nothing to do with population sizes.

                    Why are you scared of using these? Is it perhaps because they expose the utter failure of Trump's response?

                    "If you do not live in this country you should not be spreading any sort of information about what you think you know about the condition of things here"

                    Facts and figures do not magically change depending on where you oook at them from. In fact, I'm mainly using figures that come from US based sources such as Johns Hopkins and Worldometer, which for the US gets its data direct from US sources. This is all very well sourced and cited if you want to get your fingers out of your ears and start listening to the actual data.

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                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2020 @ 5:33am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that diffi

                    When you're looking at these graphs, are you factoring in that the U.S. has 5-7 times larger a population as some of these European countries with similar infection rates?

                    That factor doesn't matter when it comes to Trump saying we've tested more people than any other country.

                    Why should it matter here?

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          • identicon
            PowerOfLard, 9 May 2020 @ 10:41pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for honest

            Which other countries are you talking about? Hopefully not China, who hasn't reported a new death in how long? Hopefully not Italy, who per capita has arguably been the fastest, most heavily hit country in the world. Hopefully not Great Britain, which was recently reported as the new "epicenter" of the virus.

            According to the statistics on this website
            https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
            in category of deaths per 1 million population , which might be good indicator of some countries current response to crisis - only 8 countries (out of 200 or so) are worse than USA (belgium, spain , italy,uk ,france, sweden,netherlands and ireland) if we count in 4 states from list with less than 100.000 population it would be 12

            Because I'm pretty sure the virus did those things, not Trump's "failed presidency."

            i think its impossible to claim that governments or politicians in power who made policies during crisis didnt have so much impact on whats happening during crisis

            Also, this is an unprecedented situation the likes of which nobody alive anytime recently has seen or had any experience dealing with.

            this is just complete falsehood https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2002%E2%80%932004_SARS_outbreak

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 10 May 2020 @ 1:45am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for hon

              "only 8 countries (out of 200 or so) are worse than USA (belgium, spain , italy,uk ,france, sweden,netherlands and ireland) "

              ...and if you look at the trends, most of those countries are seeing a steady reduction in the number of active cases, while the US one is still rapidly increasing.

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            • identicon
              AC, 10 May 2020 @ 7:08pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for hon

              Ok, you lost me on all three of your responses.

              In the deaths per 1 million, the 8 countries that are higher than the U.S. (and some significantly so) comprise a large portion of the countries that can be fairly considered as reporting accurate numbers. Let's see, if we look at Zimbabwe, they have a 0.3/1 million population deaths, which we know is complete bullshit because the numbers are obviously way off. And you were saying that this stat might be a good indicator? Dude, you need to realize, some info is not reliable. China is not reporting new deaths because they are full of shit, which is what I meant when I said that.

              I never argued that Trump did not have an impact on this. In fact I admitted that he did when I said that he acted in his own self-interests on this virus issue. But blaming him for a weaker, sicker country on the verge of an economic meltdown in the context of this virus is total political extremist bullshit propaganda aimed at manipulating people who are not educated enough to form their own opinions. This advertisement blames him for more sick people AND an economic crisis, but the economy was going to tank either way, it's just the timing that would have been different. The problem with websites like this and the people who frequent them is that you are so wrapped up in your own political ideologies that you stop thinking rationally. Yes, you dislike Trump. So do I, but that doesn't mean I'm going to completely throw out logical thinking.

              With the SARS thing you referenced, first of all, dude please don't try to argue anything to me when you're citing info on Wikipedia. Second of all, the page you referenced says that the total number of SARS infections worldwide was only 8.1k and only 810 people died. Are you seriously comparing that to COVID-19? Um...come on man...you're yankin' my chain on that one...

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 11 May 2020 @ 2:06am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for

                "But blaming him for a weaker, sicker country on the verge of an economic meltdown in the context of this virus is total political extremist bullshit propaganda"

                No, it's a recognition that him first pretending it wasn't a problem then trying to blame everyone from China to Obama in lieu of taking action, after having crippled and disbanded the agencies specifically set up to deal with such problems, means that the current problem is way, way worse than it should have been.

                "Are you seriously comparing that to COVID-19?"

                Since SARS is the only other major example of a novel corona virus outbreak, what else do you suggest we compare it to?

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              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 13 May 2020 @ 3:22am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for

                "But blaming him for a weaker, sicker country on the verge of an economic meltdown in the context of this virus is total political extremist bullshit propaganda aimed at manipulating people who are not educated enough to form their own opinions."

                So let me get this straight. Trump first gutting the pandemic emergency response team of the CDC and then, once the pandemic hit, ignoring every actual expert while telling people what a "superman" he is is, in your mind, somehow worthy of something LESS than absolute and utter condemnation?

                Your icon for the Very Fine People isn't defensible in his actions over Covid. He is absolutely responsible for initially rendering the US defenseless, for ignoring or trying to explain away the US death toll, and of course, lately recommending snake oil and actual bleach intake to cure covid.

                We're talking about an utter clown demonstrating he's got nothing but sheer bullshit and fast talk. Who in an epidemic is more focused on propping up his numbers and commenting on his amount of facebook followers than he is on how to stop americans from dying.

                And you are - honestly - trying to exculpate him?

                I have to ask, are you a genuine card-carrying member of the Trump death cult or are you just honestly trolling? Because for the first time, EVER, I'm thinking the response of "just trolling" would actually be preferable.

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          • icon
            techflaws (profile), 10 May 2020 @ 1:09am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for honest

            Which other countries are you talking about?

            Greetings from Germany, genius!

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            • identicon
              AC, 10 May 2020 @ 7:49pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for hon

              Greetings to you too! Historically, you Germans have had it all figured out, haven't you!

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 11 May 2020 @ 2:23am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for hon

              It looks like you have eased restrictions a bit too early., as r seems to have gone above 1 again.

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

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 11 May 2020 @ 2:46am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for

                I'm sure that figure will be monitored and action taken as required. But, if the increase in infection rate is manageable, it's too early to say that the easing was a bad thing. R0 < 1 is where we all need to be long term, but if it spikes while everybody is able to return to some semblance of a normal life and it reduces life-threatening problems from elsewhere, then it's an acceptable side effect. A spike in infection is inevitable as easing takes place.

                Unless the R0 rises higher and higher over the next few days, the real question is whether the healthcare system in Germany is able to cope with the influx of new cases, and I've not seen anything fro outside looking in, at least, to suggest they're in any imminent danger form the current infection rates.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 10 May 2020 @ 1:38am

        Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for honest people..

        "Because I'm pretty sure the virus did those things"

        No, Trump's pitiful response to the virus did that. The virus caused certain things, but it didn't, for example, cause the pandemic team to be disbanded, claims that it was a hoax and/or limited to 15 people total, etc. That was all on Trump.

        "Whether his presidency is a failure is a non-issue"

        Tell that to the people who have literally died as a direct result of his failures.

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

        • identicon
          AC, 10 May 2020 @ 8:33pm

          Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for honest peop

          If you are not familiar with the state of the political environment in this country, it is best not to express an opinion on it, just like you won't find me doing that for whatever country you are from.

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

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 11 May 2020 @ 1:51am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for honest

            I'm free to say what I wish, and unless you can find a factual reason why I'm wrong instead of whining that us foreigners are taking interest in a political environment, that directly affects us when you destroy your own economy, I suggest you might wish to take some outside perspectives on board.

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

          • identicon
            Talmyr, 11 May 2020 @ 12:55pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for honest

            You Americans act like you are the centre of the Universe, then wonder when everyone else pays attention to your crap, especially when as already pointed out, it can directly or indirectly impact us?

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

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 12 May 2020 @ 12:24am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for hon

              Yep. The last time these guys needlessly destroyed their own economy, it caused a worldwide recession, the global effects of which are still being felt today. You're damn right we'll be criticising Trump as he does it again.

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

      • icon
        Mike Masnick (profile), 10 May 2020 @ 10:26pm

        Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for honest people..

        Because I'm pretty sure the virus did those things, not Trump's "failed presidency."

        Nah, dog. This page is quite striking in showing the different ability of various countries to suppress COVID-19, with tons of countries doing much, much better than the US (and, yes, you can throw out the China numbers... but most of the others are fair). Note how the US is basically worse than everyone else, and there's still no sign of it getting better, whereas so many other countries are on the downward trajectory.

        https://www.endcoronavirus.org/countries

        Trump's failure to act, unwillingness to properly respond, and focus on "what looks best for me" from day one has resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people.

        We're living in a failed state thanks to this government. If you can't see that, you're blind.

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

        • identicon
          AC, 10 May 2020 @ 11:19pm

          Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for honest peop

          Ah, Mr. Masnick himself! I was just hoping you would intervene.

          I take it as slightly insulting that you would call me a "dog," as the more acceptable lingo would be "dawg."

          I've taken a quick look at your little JHU-sponsored website, and what I see are a bunch of graphs that do not include any data on the y-axis, which is strange.

          Give me some more time to drill down on this.

          Regardless of what I find, I know you are correct in saying that we are living in a failed state thanks to this government. That was never in question, and hasn't been for a very long time.

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

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 11 May 2020 @ 1:54am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for honest

            "what I see are a bunch of graphs that do not include any data on the y-axis, which is strange"

            What's strange is that you've been pointed toward sites that do have that information, yet you're apparently ignored them in favour of whining that us mean foreigners are supplying you with real data that exposes how incompetent your leadership is. You can't use that to whine about Mike since he is American, so you find another way to wave away pesky facts.

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 May 2020 @ 3:29am

        Re: Re: Look, it's really not that difficult for honest people..

        "Because I'm pretty sure the virus did those things..."

        The virus which was, in the words of the administration "Not a problem", "Not our concern", "Not here", "Here but not a cause for concern", "Here but completely under control, trust me" and "Maybe if you drink chloroquine and bleach it might help?".

        While the virus was rolling in unopposed the president of the united states was sitting on his ass doing nothing while twittering out what a superman he was for having the virus under control - which it wasn't because he ignored every expert who tried to bring this shit to his attention.

        "This type of manipulative trash..."

        Trump, you mean? Yep. He was being 100% manipulative when what was needed was 100, 50, or even 10% actual leadership instead. When he fscking finally got of his ass to assemble a task force to deal with the situation - because he'd dismantled everything which would have had the US prepared for Covid-19 - he wasted every press briefing with outright malicious suggestions about untested drugs or ingesting bleach rather than let that one token expert he appointed get a word in sideways.

        "Look, it's really not that difficult for honest people..."

        True enough. Honest people long ago realized that Trump is the same pathological liar and narcissistic bully he's spent his whole life being. Honest people neither believe he's magically changed into a decent person over winning an election nor that his term in office magically sanctifies him or exculpates him for bringing shit to the table no previous president has had the unvarnished shamelessness to even try.

        But there's just no arguing with the Trump Suicide Cult, is there. The man speaks to something deep inside you guys. If the man murdered someone at random in the street all you'd do is spend every effort finding a justification for it, no matter how contrived. Or scream "But Hillary" since whataboutism seems to be your go-to answer for everything these days...

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2020 @ 12:50pm

    Yes that ad is partly false.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2020 @ 3:10pm

      Re:

      Blaming terrorism on Trump is the false part.

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 8 May 2020 @ 3:15pm

        Re: Re:

        Which wasn't in the ad, so if that's your objection then you're fighting against either a hallucination or a strawman.

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

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2020 @ 3:24pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Do you even know what terrorism is you complete moron?

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

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 8 May 2020 @ 3:34pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Ah, one of those kinds of people, have fun screaming at the void in that case.

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

          • icon
            Toom1275 (profile), 8 May 2020 @ 3:40pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Projection isn't going to get you anywhere.

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

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 8 May 2020 @ 7:08pm

            “Armed men dressed in militiary-style outfits storming into a government building with the intent of intimidating lawmakers into making decisions approved by a bunch of military-cosplaying short-dicked treasonweasels” sounds like terrorism to me.

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

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 8 May 2020 @ 7:40pm

              Re:

              Anti-quarantine protester nutjobs I'm guessing?

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

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                identicon
                AC, 10 May 2020 @ 8:51pm

                Re: Re:

                You realize what you sound like, right?

                You sound like a typical well-off American party-boy who can hit Daddy up for cash whenever times get tough. But you probably don't need to, because Daddy paid for you to get that degree in Business Administration. It took you an extra year, because you were a big-time party-boy and worried that if you didn't party a lot and get laid with a lot of different chicks that society would view you poorly. And now that COVID-19 has hit, you are rolling out of bed in the morning into your desk chair, so you can do a mediocre job for your company remotely instead of in person, while the people who lost their jobs are worrying about how they will feed their families or have a place to live because they don't have an income.

                You sound like a complete asshole. You need to stop commenting so much on these Techdirt threads because it is making me not want to come back here despite the good writing (most of the time).

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

            • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2020 @ 7:43pm

              Re:

              It's exactly like that except they are armed with biological weapons and nerve agents, and are located far away.

              So yes, that's them.

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

              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 8 May 2020 @ 8:26pm

                I bet you think Obama was born in Kenya, too.

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

                • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2020 @ 8:28pm

                  Re:

                  Was his mother a dual national too?

                  I'm not sure if he was or not.

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

                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 8 May 2020 @ 11:16pm

                    Re: Re:

                    No, she was American. His father was Kenyan, but that's irrelevant since he was born in Hawaii.

                    I find the birther idiocy quite revealing of the attitudes on the two "sides", though. When there was question over whether John McCain was "natural born" since he was born on an overseas military base, Obama and Clinton both signed to agree that he was indeed eligible and it was no longer an issue during that election. When there was question over Obama's eligibility, he was vetted well beyond the standards of any previous candidate before and after his inauguration, and still some people don't believe he was. There must be something...different...about him I guess?

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

                    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2020 @ 11:47pm

                      Re: Re: Re:

                      He was fine except for claiming the WMDs aren't real when they are clearly real. Also he had some kind of idealized version of what the internet is that wasn't reality based.

                      I liked Obama.

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

                • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                  identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2020 @ 8:59pm

                  Re:

                  I do agree an Obama was born in Kenya

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2020 @ 6:36am

        Re: Re:

        "Blaming terrorism on Trump is the false part."

        Why would that be false?

        Every time you bomb a peaceful gathering resulting in the death of many, how many new terrorists have you created?

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

  • identicon
    Rocky, 8 May 2020 @ 1:31pm

    Ads and truth

    If ads in general was held to the same standards as applied to the Lincoln Projects ad, they would all have the label "Partly False Information" plastered on them.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Koby (profile), 8 May 2020 @ 2:41pm

    Can't Appear Too Obvious

    While the whole situation is ridiculous, it's at least mildly amusing, considering how frequently clueless Trumpkins insist that Facebook censors "conservative" (by which they mean Trumpian) viewpoints.

    One of the major distinctions isn't that big corporate tech companies will ONLY censor pro-Trump messages, it's that big corporate tech companies are considerably BIASED against pro-Trump messages. When a conservative argument gets censored, it's probably for a bogus reason. But if an anti-Trump message gets a slap on the wrist, you know that the Trump hater totally blew it.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 8 May 2020 @ 2:51pm

      Re: Can't Appear Too Obvious

      And, of course, your "evidence" for this is a bunch of dumb anecdotes.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 8 May 2020 @ 3:06pm

      Or obvious at all appareantly

      Of course I'm sure you'll have no problem pointing to several examples of those poor persecuted conservatives that didn't deserve to be 'censored' to back up the argument that the reasons for them being told 'not on our platform' were completely bogus and just made up to crack down on their 'conservative views'...

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 8 May 2020 @ 7:11pm

        Breaking this one out again...

        Conservative: I have been censored for my conservative views
        Me: Holy shit! You were censored for wanting lower taxes?
        Con: LOL no…no not those views
        Me: So…deregulation?
        Con: Haha no not those views either
        Me: Which views, exactly?
        Con: Oh, you know the ones

        (All credit to Twitter user @ndrew_lawrence.)

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 8 May 2020 @ 11:22pm

          Re: Breaking this one out again...

          Well, it's been expanding out from the white supremacists recently at least. Thanks to the pandemic, some of the higher profile bans have been people either claiming the entire disease is a socialist hoax, or trying to encourage people to protest with the specific goal of overrunning the ability of authorities to cope.

          Pure idiocy, but at least it's not thinly veiled Klan activity for once.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2020 @ 6:39am

            Re: Re: Breaking this one out again...

            I'm confused as to their purpose or intent. wtf do they think is going to happen - or maybe they are not thinking

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

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 9 May 2020 @ 9:15am

              'I don't wanna eat the yucky veggies, I don't!'

              Far as I can tell it's the equivalent of a toddler angry that their parents are telling them to do something and throwing a tantrum in response; they just really don't like people telling them what to do, with the fact that they're being told to not do something to keep the body count low going right over their tiny little heads.

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

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 10 May 2020 @ 1:47am

              Re: Re: Re: Breaking this one out again...

              They're either complete morons, or have worked out a way to profit from total morons.

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

          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 May 2020 @ 4:05am

            Re: Re: Breaking this one out again...

            "Pure idiocy, but at least it's not thinly veiled Klan activity for once."

            Never say never. How many of those conspiracy theories are linking the "pandemic hoax" to "ze jews"? I don't think I've ever seen a single conspiracy theory which didn't, at some point, feel the need to insert <ethnic minority here> as a key part.

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

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 May 2020 @ 4:02am

          Re: Breaking this one out again...

          "Me: Which views, exactly?"
          "Con: Oh, you know the ones"

          The GOP today must be a bit split over the fact that on one hand they feel compelled to bolster the narrative that conservative voters are being maligned by modern media but every time they bring up an example it turns out the moderated and blocked party is a raging racist who proudly proclaims himself "conservative".

          The right thing to do would be to immediately take great distance from the party claiming the media wronged him over this. The wrong thing to do would be to keep encouraging the narrative, putting the whole GOP in the same boat as racists, bigots, and the religious hysterics.

          And wouldn't you know it, the GOP decided to repeatedly stand up and be counted among the racist trolls. It is, I guess, why so many republicans have recently joined the democrats instead.

          It's going to be an interesting election. The republicans look like a pseudo-organized horde of deranged clowns and the democrats all keep holding their noses with expressions somewhere between despair and disbelief...

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

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 11 May 2020 @ 10:39am

            'Hey now, those are some Very Fine People!'

            Keep the bigots and use them as examples of 'persecuted conservatives' to feed the narrative.

            Or...

            Ditch the bigots and watch the 'persecuted conservatives' narrative, already weak, completely collapse from lack of examples.

            Given the choice between 'back bigots to keep a persecution complex alive' or 'ditch bigots and the persecution narrative with them' choosing the first shows a truly abysmal set of priorities and position.

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

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 May 2020 @ 2:01am

              Re: 'Hey now, those are some Very Fine People!'

              "Given the choice between 'back bigots to keep a persecution complex alive' or 'ditch bigots and the persecution narrative with them' choosing the first shows a truly abysmal set of priorities and position."

              I've read a few political commentaries - all too few, lamentably - which point out that the current mindset of the GOP resembles that of the US south before the civil war when it was convinced that losing their traditional advantage in US politics would lead to them getting forever sidelined. It's a fortress mentality where gradually every principle is eroded in the desperate hope of continuing to cling to power - even if it means selling out every core tenet which made the party what it is.

              The current republican more or less has to define him/herself by fear and hatred. It's all they've got left. And the only ones they have to blame are their very own selves.

              That decline started in the 50's and 60's after the "New Deal" switched ideological poles between the then-traditional home of the KKK, the democrat party, and the, at the time, far more liberal-conservative faction of the GOP. The GOP were so damn eager to gain new converts they failed to realize that letting those Very Fine People into the party meant the beginning of their end.

              Truly architects of their own destruction.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 8 May 2020 @ 7:10pm

      When a conservative argument gets censored, it's probably for a bogus reason.

      Please show me a single “conservative argument” that the government censored.

      (Reminder: Moderation is a platform operator saying “we don’t do that here”. Discretion is you saying “I won’t do that there”. Censorship is someone saying “you can’t do that anywhere” before or after threats of either violence or government intervention.)

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 8 May 2020 @ 11:18pm

      Re: Can't Appear Too Obvious

      "When a conservative argument gets censored, it's probably for a bogus reason"

      It's actually usually not, it's just that they have to pretend it is rather than be honest and go "damn, I shouldn't have made the white supremacism so obvious".

      Name one conservative that's actually been censored for innocent reasons, rather than for being an actual hateful piece of shit.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 May 2020 @ 6:46am

      Re: Can't Appear Too Obvious

      "it's that big corporate tech companies are considerably BIASED against pro-Trump messages."

      When said trump messages include things like injecting chlorine, one would think that the private business decision to remove said message would be the prudent thing to do. Can you identify anything that might change this most obvious conclusion? What is it that makes this "censoring" bogus? Non-removal of that message might result in legal action against them ... but its bogus - yeah sure it is.

      This smells of both sides bullshit.

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

  • identicon
    Yes, I know I'm commenting anonymously, 8 May 2020 @ 10:58pm

    What we accomplished this week was not something to be celebrated. No commercial should have the power to derail the leader of the free world.

    Wait, what happened to Angela Merckel?

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


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