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LEVY: Pro-Biden media bias just shameful – Toronto Sun

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That said, it was like 2016 all over again.

We saw a shamelessly biased main-stream media which this time made no secret of their loathing for Trump. Their interviews didn’t just ask hard questions but vindictive ones laced with a tone of contempt and a “gotcha” mentality.

I don’t blame him for walking out of the 60 Minutes interview two weeks ago. While he was repeatedly criticized for what he didn’t do, the interview never addressed what he did right.

On the other hand, Biden was lobbed softballs and the conversation with Kamala Harris bordered on a love-in. Her contentious comments about protecting protesters from criminal charges after they trashed, looted and engaged in violence in U.S. cities like Denver, Milwaukee and Seattle were completely ignored.

Former president Barack Obama, who forever got a free pass during his eight years in office, couldn’t keep his nose out of the election, either. The media ate it up.

Once again, the media failed to connect with the sentiments of average Americans — instead taking as gospel the words of the political class, the special interests and those they consider “likable.”

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It was a shocking abdication of the basic tenets of journalism to get every side of the story.

Americans who felt Trump had gotten things done and had kept his promises simply considered all of the media bluster white noise. Faced with the prospect of being bullied by the “woke”– called halfwits and dumbasses– they kept their thoughts to themselves or became those “lean-in” voters we saw during our own mayor Rob Ford’s landslide in 2010.

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Ignore the social media echo chambers – TechCrunch

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After Election Day, NPR, The Washington Post and various blogs described America as bitterly divided or on the brink of civil war. These were by the same journalists, pundits and intellectuals who only know how to sell fear.

“They want to take away your guns!” and “They want to take your children away!” were their cries, while praising BLM’s protesters on one screen and promoting videos of the infinitesimal number of rioters on another.

The Atlantic speculated about widespread violence depending on the outcome, but I never believed these seemingly well-researched reports that have become commonplace in our clickbait-driven world. And as we saw, nothing of real concern happened; instead of violence, there were relatively small protests and dancing in the streets.
The gap that supposedly divides our nation is narrower than the doomsaying pundits, intellectuals, politicians and cause leaders want you to believe. Why do they want you to believe this? Because promoting division and conflict sells and grants a perverse glue that unites people within their tribal communities. Behind these labels of conflict are seeds of fear that can grow into irrational fears. Fears without reason, fears beyond facts. Sometimes these fears become things we hate  —  and our society and nation should have no place for hate, because it is an unproductive emotion without any possible positive outcome.

I’ve learned to ignore much of the headline-driven news and social media echo chambers where ridiculous ideas fester across our political spectrum. There are obviously ridiculous ideas, such as QAnon, but the subtly ridiculous ideas can be more dangerous and potentially even more destructive. These ideas can be diminished by simple questions to the average reasonable person.
One idea spawned in some progressive echo chambers was the notion that Trump would stage a coup d’état if Joe Biden won the election (i.e., “Did you see those unmarked federal police!?” which signaled to some that a coup was coming).

A basic element of a coup d’état is military support or control, which obviously Trump did not have. I would ask basic questions around this idea, but always ask the rhetorical question, “Do you know how difficult it is to conduct a coup d’état?” Meanwhile, in some conservative echo chambers, a similar concern made rounds that “defund the police” was an effort to install a “federal police force” that Biden would control once in the Oval Office. So there really isn’t much original thought inside the echo chambers of America.

Maybe both sides with such fantasies recently watched that Patrick Swayze classic, “Red Dawn,” where a tiny militia of high school students held off the combined forces of the old Soviet Union and Cuba. Or maybe they saw “300,” in which Sparta’s army held off more than 300,000 invaders. After watching either of these inspirational movies, I might possibly believe such a militia or “federal force” could overpower the whole might of the U.S. military. Ahem.

For those warmongers and soothsayers warning of civil war, where do they want the country to go? Static echo chambers of America, or a vision of suburban folks with pitchforks and handguns versus urban dwellers carrying machine guns and Blue Bottle coffee mugs?

Since the level of violence after the election did not in fact match the crystal balls of these oracles, the definitions and terms have of course changed. As Bertrand Russell stated, “fear is the main source of superstition”  —  to which I would add that fear is also the source of really stupid predictions and ideas.
And let’s be clear that while I do criticize the echo chambers of social media, they are only tools of promotion, because echo chambers are not limited to the online social media. Echo chambers can be homes, bars, lodge meetings, yoga studios and Sunday bridge clubs. The enablers are the pundits, intellectuals, politicians and cause leaders that seed these ideas.

Conspiracy theories, misinformation and outlandish statements were quite capable of spreading before the recommendation engines of Facebook and others were fully developed. For example, in 2006, over 50% of Democrats believed the U.S. government was involved in the 9/11 terrorist attack. More than half of registered Democrats believed in this conspiracy theory! And let’s not forget the Obama “birther” conspiracy, where at least 57% of Republicans continued to believe that President Obama was born in Kenya even after he released his birth certificate in 2008.

But today, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other social media sites have become extremely powerful accelerants for such provocative ideas and strange fictions. Tristan Harris, co-founder and president of the Center for Humane Technology, was recently featured in the Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma,” where he discussed how social media tends to feed content to retain people’s attention and can spiral downward.

This can become an abyss of outright misinformation, or — even more importantly in my estimation — for subtle, ignorant ideas, such as coups d’état and civil wars. And those destructive ideas and irrational conspiracy theories from the 2000s that probably took months to spread, are now supercharged by today’s social media giants to infect our society in a matter of days or weeks.

The fabric of our nation was delicately woven, but after countless turns of the loom between conflicts and enlightenment, our country has proven itself extremely resilient. Indestructible beyond today’s calls for racism and ignorance, for anarchy and destruction, and for civil wars.

Biden is our President-elect with a mandate to lead our nation beyond this divide  —  a divide that I believe has been overstated. Many citizens met in the middle to provide Biden with a mandate to bridge the gap. The “blue wave” didn’t occur and House Republicans gained 10 seats, which means many Republicans and independents voted “red” down-ballot but also voted for Biden.

Trump had the largest number of minority votes for a Republican presidential candidate in history, including from 18% of Black male voters  —  and that number would have been much higher pre-pandemic. I see all of this as a positive, because our citizens are not voting party line or becoming beholden to one party.

In reality, many of the major issues that supposedly separate us are much closer than we know. For example, I’ve sat down behind closed doors with a senior adviser on healthcare for a major Republican leader, who stated that Obamacare isn’t far off from what they were planning. The difference was that their plan was more small business friendly and their cost savings would be among the younger demographic. I also sat down with a senior adviser for Obamacare, who explained that they believed it wasn’t sustainable unless the cost savings were for those 65 and above. So the differences on such critical policies are not miles apart but only steps away from each other. Although at times politics are about credit and conflict, hopefully such differences can be resolved in the near future.

I hope this election will change the temperament of our nation and its citizens. I hope it will lead more people to ignore the tactics of both political parties and organizations seeking their attention and support. Their shortsighted methods should be cast away like the relics of the past and conflict should not be the tool of this new America. Instead, let’s focus on productive dialogue to find common ground, and thoughtful, practical policies to move our nation forward.

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Media conference with Moe, Shahab postponed – CKOM News Talk Sports

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A media conference that was scheduled for Tuesday with Premier Scott Moe and Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province’s chief medical health officer, was postponed until Wednesday.

The announcement was made shortly after the province issued its COVID-19 update for the day. No reason was given for the postponement.

The media conference was to take place at 3 p.m.

Moe was to join by video from his home in Shellbrook, where he’s in self-isolation after potentially being exposed to someone who later tested positive for COVID-19.

It was expected that Moe and Shahab would announce further restrictions as the government tries to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“Further measures are under active consideration and development by Dr. Shahab and will be announced during tomorrow’s COVID-19 update with the Premier and the Chief Medical Health Officer,” Moe’s office said in a media release announcing the postponement.

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Local mayor rips social-media ills after man convicted of online threat – St. Thomas Times-Journal

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Norfolk Mayor Kristal Chopp used a questionable image to express her discontent with the county’s treatment at the hands of the province during a meeting with Municipal Affairs Minister Steven Clark in Toronto earlier this year.

Postmedia Network / File photo

SIMCOE – Norfolk County Mayor Kristal Chopp says online harassment has been part of her job since being elected two years ago, including one case that resulted in a man being criminally convicted.

“I’m pretty tough, but the constant barrage of abuse that some find amusing has affected my psychology,” the mayor said in a recent interview.

Earlier this month, a 57-year-old Port Rowan man was sentenced after he pleaded guilty to uttering a threat to cause death or bodily harm to Chopp.

Dana Robert Dargie was placed on house arrest for 30 days and put on probation for 18 months, during which he is banned from communicating with or going near the mayor. He also can’t go to the municipal building or attend any Norfolk council meetings. And he must get counselling for anger management.

Dargie is just one of many people who lash out on social media against the mayor, who has faced controversy over council’s decisions to cut services and staff, among other things.

Along with emails and negative online comments, Chopp is mocked through a parody account on Twitter, which often compares her to U.S. President Donald Trump. She said a members-only Facebook site with 3,000 members seems to have been formed specifically to discuss and denigrate her work and that of Norfolk County’s top bureaucrat, Jason Burgess, who is the municipality’s fifth CAO in just over a year.

She said she regularly receives inappropriate emails, including some from a “dirty old man,” who has sent dozens of messages, including half-naked photos of himself.

“I never used to believe in blocking people but that has changed in recent times. Social media has become too out of control, too offensive, too damaging and too harassing.”

And that harassment has extended to her family.

Chopp said her parents’ Hamilton-area farm was visited last year by bylaw officers looking for illegal cannabis.

“They realized they had been sent on a wild goose chase the second they stepped onto the farm but said they had so many phone calls and emails telling them to check it out that they finally went.”

A spokesperson for the City of Hamilton confirmed bylaw officers visited the farm and found no violations.

Chopp said that incident is still under investigation and included a “22-page manifesto” from someone named “Harry Smith,” who mailed his allegations to major media organizations in Canada and to Chopp’s employer, Air Canada, where she works as a pilot. The “manifesto” said the mayor is a narcissistic dictator and psychopath, who owns her own plane and runs a marijuana business.

“I think there’s a reason why women, in particular, don’t want to get involved in politics,” she said. “I can give you a list of more than a dozen men I’m allegedly sleeping with. And, if they don’t get off on that one, they call me a lesbian.”

Chopp said she has pondered taking civil action against some of the harassers as the abuse intensifies

She said she hopes Dargie’s conviction will stop others.

“But I don’t think it will,” she said. “Social media has taken on a life of its own and the facts don’t seem to matter.

“Ignoring the keyboard warriors is difficult but I will do my best to soldier on.”

At a Norfolk council meeting last Tuesday, the mayor was accused by her council colleagues of using bullying tactics and intimidation as the politicians aired their feelings and grievances. Chopp refused to participate in the meeting, gathering her things and leaving.

SGamble@postmedia.com

@EXPSGamble

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