Monday, October 17, 2016

'We define first and then see'

See if you can guess the morning's top story over at the Fair 'n' Balanced Network:

WikiLeaks said Monday that its founder Julian Assange’s Internet link was severed by a “state party” and that “appropriate contingency plans” had been activated.

The website’s announcement came hours after it published three cryptic tweets. The messages referenced Ecuador, Secretary of State John Kerry and the United Kingdom’s Foreign Commonwealth Office. Each tweet was matched with a string of numbers.

What could that mean, do you suppose?

Gizmodo noted that the 64-character codes sparked a whirlwind of rumors that the 45-year-old Assange had died. Rumors on Reddit and Twitter said the numbers triggered a so-called “dead man’s switch,” which could be enacted in case Assange did die. Gizmodo reported that such switches do exist.

WikiLeaks hasn’t tweeted anything else about Assange’s Internet access or how it may have been “severed.”

Let's see how Fox builds the context in the ensuing paragraphs:

Various U.S. officials and pundits have made threatening statements directed at Assange in the past.

... Assange also has hinted that deceased DNC staffer Seth Rich may have been a secret source for WikiLeaks.

... The controversial anti-secrecy website has been busy in October, methodically releasing a trove of emails allegedly stolen from the gmail account of Clinton presidential campaign chair John Podesta.

...  Many experts believe WikiLeaks is not an independent organization, but in fact a front for the Russian government.

... Vice President Joe Biden told NBC News on Friday that the U.S. would be "sending a message" to Russian President Vladimir Putin "at the time of our choosing, and under the circumstances that will have the greatest impact."

Got it? OK, at this point, you may be wondering -- what would I do if I was one of those guys with the cool hats in that movie with Cary Grant and Roz Russell? The ones who are always calling the home office on the ... what's that, BBC News?

The anti-secrecy organisation did not return calls and emails on Monday, though it said in a tweet: "We have activated the appropriate contingency plans."

A woman who picked up the phone at the Ecuadorean embassy said: "I cannot disclose any information.

The ambassador has not yet responded to emails, and London's Metropolitan Police declined to comment.

So if you're the sort of freedom-hating tool of the global banking interests whose third paragraph looks like this:

There was no way to immediately verify if he had been knocked offline, and if so, how a state actor was suspected.

... you might actually pick up the phone and ask something like "Hey, is your Internet out too?"

My Favorite Quote of the Semester for this semester is from Walter Lippmann in Public Opinion: "For the most part we do not first see and then define, we define first and then see." If you're eagerly awaiting the update to this tale, you might be disappointed to find that (ahem) some networks don't share your interest.

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Anonymous Picky said...

Small, irrelevant point - fair, balanced, but un-edited, perhaps - it's the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, of course, on the (false) assumption that Commonwealth brethren are never foreign.

7:03 AM, October 18, 2016  
Blogger fev said...

Even the non-facts can't be allowed to get in the way of a good story!

11:17 PM, October 18, 2016  

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