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NDP MP's post on Israeli vaccinations in West Bank sparks social media dust-up – Kamloops This Week

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OTTAWA — A Twitter post by NDP MP Charlie Angus on Israel’s vaccination policy has kicked up a storm of social media controversy.

The online post links to an article in The Guardian newspaper that highlights how Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza are not among the beneficiaries of Israel’s rapid rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, whereas Jewish settlers are.

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Angus calls the situation “appalling” and caps off the tweet with the words, “#apartheidstate.”

The post Sunday sparked more than 1,000 likes, but also backlash, including from Liberal MP Ya’ara Saks.

Saks, who represents Toronto’s York Centre riding — which includes a sizable Jewish community — said in a reply that the Palestinian Authority is responsible for the medical care of its citizens, and noted the article states the authority has not officially asked for help from Israel.

Israel has led the world in per-capita inoculations, but which shoulders receive the shots remains a controversial issue.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021.

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Rittenhouse, mother fixated on social media treatment – 570 News

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MADISON, Wis. — An Illinois teen accused of killing two people during unrest in Wisconsin and the teen’s mom were fixated on social media comments about them in the hours after his August arrest, newly released police video shows.

Police in Antioch, Illinois, on Monday released four hours of video taken after Kyle Rittenhouse turned himself in hours after the Aug. 25 protest in Kenosha, the Chicago Tribune reported. The protest was part of a series of chaotic demonstrations that ensued after a white Kenosha officer shot Jacob Blake, who is Black, in the back seven times during a domestic dispute. Rittenhouse is white.

Prosecutors say Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, opened fire during the protest, killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz. Rittenhouse faces multiple charges, including intentional homicide. He has argued he was protecting businesses and fired in self-defence. Conservatives have rallied around him, generating enough money to make his $2 million cash bail.

Cellphone video shows Rittenhouse walking past police in the moments after the shootings, his rifle slung over his shoulder and his hands in the air. Officers let him go, and he turned himself in to police in his hometown of Antioch the next day.

The Chicago Tribune reported that the police video shows Rittenhouse sobbing and hyperventilating. Investigators reminded him of his right to remain silent. Rittenhouse, who once participated in programs for aspiring offices, replied, “I know Miranda,” and said he wanted a lawyer.

Police left him in the interrogation room with his mother, Wendy Rittenhouse, who spent the next several hours scrolling through her phone. At one point she put her head in her hands and lamented about people posting derogatory remarks about both of them on Facebook.

His mother told him he needed to deactivate his social media accounts.

“’I have to get rid of social media?” he asked.

“Yep … ‘Cause they’re going to harass you if they can find you anywhere,” she said.

Rittenhouse said he couldn’t give her access to some accounts because the passwords were stored in his phone, which police had taken. He later asked an officer if detectives could delete his accounts. The officer said he would look into it.

In the audible portions of the video, Rittenhouse didn’t ask about the men he shot. He also didn’t appear to understand the seriousness of the situation, asking an officer if he could go home and if he could get counselling to help him cope.

“I don’t want to be one of those people that lives with PTSD the rest of their life,” he said.

Last week, a judge ordered ordered Rittenhouse to have no contact with known white supremacists after he was seen drinking in a bar in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, and posing for a photo with two men who made hand gestures used by white supremacists. Prosecutors also alleged men at the tavern serenaded Rittenhouse with the anthem of the Proud Boys, a neo-fascist group.

The legal drinking age in Wisconsin is 21 but Rittenhouse could legally drink alcohol because he was with his mother.

Rittenhouse is due back in court in Kenosha on March 10.

The Associated Press

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Opinion | New study shows social media is dumbing-down news consumers – StCatharinesStandard.ca

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The digital dream darkens further.

A recent study by PEW Research Center, Journalism and Media (PEW) shows that news consumers who rely upon social media are less knowledgeable and less engaged than those who use other news sources.

“The analysis of surveys … finds that those who rely most on social media for political news stand apart from other news consumers in a number of ways. (They) tend to be less likely than other news consumers to closely follow major news stories … (and) this group also tends to be less knowledgeable about these topics,” according to PEW.

The study found that social media news consumers tend to pay less attention to news than those who rely on most other sources. As of early June 2020, just eight per cent of U.S. adults getting most of their political news from social media said they were following news about the election “very closely,” compared with cable TV (37 per cent) and print (33 per cent). This difference is alarming for democracy.

“This relative lack of attention to news goes hand in hand with lower levels of knowledge about major current events and politics … respondents were asked 29 different fact-based questions that touch on a variety of topics … Across these 29 questions, the average proportion who got each question right is lower among Americans who rely most on social media for political news than those who rely most on other types of news sources, except for local TV,” the study says.

Demographically, adults who rely most on social media for news are younger and have lower levels of education than those who mainly use several other platforms.

One study index measured political knowledge — high, middle, and low — against seven different source types; news website, radio, print media, cable TV, network TV, social media and local TV. Only 17 per cent of social media users scored high, compared to 45 per cent using news websites, 42 per cent radio and 41 per cent print media.

On six political stories, social media users demonstrated the lowest awareness of any group. Social media users were also far less engaged in the coronavirus pandemic coverage, and more likely to have heard about conspiracy theories and other false claims.

How large is the problem then?

Another PEW study conducted in 2018 measured social media news sourcing among 38 advanced and developing countries globally. It found that a global median of 35 per cent use social media to get news daily. About half say they never use social networking sites to get news.

Responding to the question “How often do you use social networking sites to get news?”, Canada ranked second highest among advanced nations with 42 per cent — behind South Korea at 57 per cent, and ahead of the U.S. at 39 per cent.

Facebook is the king of social media news, with 36 per cent of Americans regularly logging on to obtain their news.

The Shattered Mirror: News, Democracy and Trust in the Digital Age, is a landmark Public Policy Forum report published in January 2017. It looks at the state of a much weaker news media in Canada, severely disrupted by the digital age.

“The digital revolution has made for a more open and diverse news ecosystem — and a meaner and less trustworthy one. It has also upended the model of “boots on the ground” backed up by a second platoon in the office upholding such hallowed standards as verification and balance. Established news organizations have been left gasping, while native digital alternatives have failed to develop journalistic mass, especially in local news,” the report found.

Between 2010 and 2017, 225 weekly and 27 daily newspapers were lost to closure or merger.

“Anyone who views news as a public good will see that this decline damages civil discourse,” the report concluded.

According to “The State of Social Media in Canada 2020,” published by the Social Media Lab at Ryerson University — 94 per cent of online Canadians have a social media account, 83 per cent on Facebook.

There are only 75 remaining daily newspapers in Canada, with paid circulation just over 11 million copies weekly.

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The age of post-truth couldn’t exist without the fact-free and emotive ecosphere of social media, wherein confirmation bias and selective exposure reinforce individual world views while dismissing contradictory information.

On social media, there is no one to fact-check the story.

As the most trusted man in America once said, “Journalism is what we need to make democracy work.”

Ken Grafton is a writer based in Wakefield, Que. His background includes global executive level experience in engineering and telecommunications.

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Quebec media must be allowed to show the ravages of COVID-19 – CBC.ca

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Editor’s note: Nineteen media outlets in Quebec, including the CBC, have signed an open letter today calling on the Quebec government and public-health authorities to give journalists access to the province’s health institutions.


In March of 2020, the world started to grasp the magnitude of the developing public health crisis when disturbing images began to emerge from Italy.

Photos and videos showed patients crammed into hospitals, many of them intubated, while distraught doctors bore witness to the seriousness of the situation.

It was this imagery, more than any World Health Organization announcement or press release, that made people the world over aware of the gravity of the pandemic. It also helped many of them more readily accept government confinement measures.

However, in Quebec such images are exceedingly rare because government and public-health authorities have chosen to shut the doors of the province’s health institutions to the media, a restriction with little precedent in the rest of the world. 

With very few exceptions, Quebec reporters and photographers, eager to bear witness to the plight of patients and health-care staff amid the pandemic, have had their requests for access to hospitals and CHSLDs denied.

These refusals by Quebec’s regional health boards and the minister of health are all the more astonishing in light of the fact that hospital managers have often been open to media visits, while caregivers have also expressed interest in opening doors to their institutions.

Hospitalizations for COVID-19 spiked in Quebec earlier this month, reaching heights not seen since spring. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

They understand that the absence of images of the pandemic allows some to minimize the severity of COVID-19, to liken its symptoms to that of the common flu, or even to diminish the need to follow public-health directives.

This is precisely why it is of utmost of importance for Quebecers to hear directly from embattled doctors, nurses and orderlies, as well as the patients they are treating, in order to accurately report the harsh realities being experienced behind those closed doors.

Health-care workers, after all, are the primary witnesses to what goes on inside our health institutions. They must be allowed to speak freely about what they are observing during this crisis.

Of course the Quebec media is acutely aware of the risks associated with COVID-19. This is why Quebec journalists have rigorously adhered to all public-health guidelines while in the field during this pandemic, and would do so just as conscientiously in any health-care setting.

In the name of freedom of information, we, the representatives of Quebec’s major media organizations, are calling on the Quebec government and public-health authorities to give journalists access to the province’s health institutions, where the battle being waged is one that affects all Quebecers.

Signatories:

Benoit Dussault, Executive Director, 24 heures 

George Kalogerakis, Editor-in-chief, Agence QMI 

Helen Evans, Managing Editor, CBC Quebec 

Melanie Porco, Supervising Producer, CityNews Montreal (Citytv) 

Chris Bury, Program & News Director, CJAD 800 

Julie-Christine Gagnon, News Director, 98.5, Cogeco News 

Jed Kahane, News Director, CTV News 

Karen Macdonald, News Director/Station Manager, Global News Montreal 

Martin Picard, Vice-President, COO of Content, Groupe TVA Inc. 

Dany Doucet, Editor-in-chief, Journal de Montréal 

Sébastien Ménard, Editor-in-chief, Journal de Québec 

François Cardinal, Deputy Publisher, La Presse  

Brian Myles, Editor, Le Devoir 

Stéphane Lavallée, General Manager, Les coops de l’information 

Lucinda Chodan, Editor, Montreal Gazette 

Luce Julien, Executive Director, News and Currents Affairs, Société Radio-Canada 

Geneviève Rossier, Editor and General manager, The Canadian Press, French service 

Xavier Brassard-Bédard, Editor-in-chief, TVA Nouvelles/LCN

Jean-Nicolas Gagné, General Manager, QUB radio

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