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Trump Allies Coin 'Legal Vote' Media Mantra to Question Election – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — President Donald Trump’s allies including some of his children are amplifying the president’s attacks on the election system’s integrity with online claims that test the rules set by social media companies against disinformation about the vote.

The president’s unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud on social media have been labeled as misleading. Similarly, a Nov. 5 tweet by his son, Donald Trump Jr., calling for “total war” was restricted by Twitter, and as was a post by Eric Trump claiming that Democrats are trying to steal the election.When the president has claimed without evidence that there is widespread voter fraud, his posts on social media have been labeled as misleading. Yet both the president and right-wing influencers are using seemingly benign phrases that nonetheless infer fraud — and avoid action by social media companies.

The online campaign is happening after Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. intensified their efforts to crack down on misinformation in the weeks leading up to Election Day, including placing labels on posts that sought to mislead users about mail-in ballots or voting requirements.

On Friday, as vote tallies in Pennsylvania showed Joe Biden in the lead there for the first time, Ivanka Trump tweeted that “Every legally cast vote should be counted. Every illegally cast vote should not. This should not be controversial.” Similarly, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tweeted, “Every legal vote should be counted,” the senator tweeted. “Any illegally-submitted ballots must not,” and Vice President Mike Pence also posted a tweet asking for “legal votes” to be counted.The phrase “legally cast vote” and its variations was picked up by Trump’s supporters, who deployed it on social media and who chanted it at least on rally in Arizona.

“As best I can tell, the term ‘legal votes’ did not exist in the American political dictionary until three days ago, when President Trump invented it,” said Emerson Brooking, resident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. “This is false. Moreover, this is a transparent attempt by Trump and his proxies to delegitimize the election and undermine the votes of 144 million Americans.”

A White House spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did representatives for the Trump campaign and the Trump Organization, where the president’s sons work.

The phrase “legal votes” have been mentioned over 500,000 times on Twitter since Thursday, according to social media analytics company Zignal Labs Inc. The company saw a spike in the phrase being used during the president’s Thursday evening appearance, in which he claimed a broad conspiracy to steal the election without providing evidence.

A Twitter representative said the company continues “to monitor Tweets that attempt to spread misleading information about voting, accounts engaged in spammy behavior and tweets that make premature or inaccurate claims about election results.”

Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The company is labeling every election-related post with a link to their information center, regardless of the content.

Twitter has taken a harsher stance than Facebook against posts from the president by hiding and restricting the sharing of 12 of Trump’s tweets since Election Day. Twitter has applied a label to those tweets that states, “Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process.”

Facebook hasn’t gone as far as Twitter in restricting sharing and hiding the president’s posts but has instead opted to apply varying labels, noting that vote counting is ongoing.

Facebook in the lead-up to the election became increasingly concerned about the potential for false narratives about the outcome to spark real-world violence. On Nov. 5, for instance, it shut down a pro-Trump group called Stop the Steal because some members were advocating violence.

“These include demotions for content on Facebook and Instagram that our systems predict may be misinformation, including debunked claims about voting,” the company said in a statement. “We are also limiting the distribution of live videos that may relate to the election on Facebook.”

But false claims have still been able to spread rapidly. Unlike Twitter, Facebook hasn’t limited sharing and commenting on misinformation. The message to count all legal votes has proliferated in the comments section of popular posts from celebrities and politicians.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Judge refuses to dismiss media charges in Pell trial – CTV News

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA —
A Supreme Court judge in Australia’s Victoria state on Friday dismissed submissions from news media organizations and journalists that there is no case to answer on charges they breached a gag order on reporting about Cardinal George Pell’s sex abuse convictions in 2018.

More charges were tossed out in the case against Australian media outlets prosecuted over reporting of Pell’s abuse convictions. But the judge refused to throw out the bulk of the 87 charges of contempt of court for stories published after the cardinal’s guilty verdict.

His child sexual abuse convictions were overturned by Australia’s High Court earlier this year and the cardinal is back in Rome.

More than two dozen media organizations, reporters and editors were charged with breaching of suppression orders and other reporting rules in the days following the guilty verdicts.

In a mid-trial ruling on Friday, Justice John Dixon dismissed eight contempt charges against Nationwide News, Sydney radio station 2GB, Queensland Newspapers and the Nine Entertainment-owned Fairfax Media.

But he rejected arguments by 27 media outlets, journalists and editors that they had no case to answer for the remaining 79 charges.

Prosecutors last month dropped 13 charges against News Corp. staff and publications. The trial is scheduled to resume on Jan. 28.

Such suppression orders are common in the Australian and British judicial systems. But the enormous international interest in an Australian criminal trial with global ramifications highlighted the difficulty in enforcing such orders in the digital age.

Pell was convicted on Dec. 11, 2018 of sexually abusing two choirboys in a Melbourne cathedral when he was the city’s archbishop in the late 1990s.

The trial of Pope Francis’ former finance minister and the most senior Catholic to be charged with child sex abuse was not reported in the news media because of the suppression order that forbade publication of details in any format that could be accessed from Australia.

Details were suppressed to prevent prejudicing jurors in a second child abuse trial that Pell was to face three months later.

That second trial was cancelled due to a lack of evidence, and Australia’s High Court in April overturned all convictions after Pell had spent 13 months in prison.

No foreign news organization has been charged with breaching the suppression order. The U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment would prevent such censorship in the United States, so attempting to extradite an American for breaching an Australian suppression order would be futile.

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Japanese PM Suga to hold news conference amid third coronavirus wave: media – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, is set to hold a news conference to provide an update on the country’s pandemic response on Friday, his first since coronavirus case numbers surged in November.

Suga is expected to explain his backing of a widely criticised travel subsidy campaign meant to help revive the economy amid infection controls.

In recent weeks, a third wave of the coronavirus has arrived in parts of the country, and some medical groups and experts blame it on a government campaign to encourage domestic tourism.

His news conference will take place at 6 p.m. local time (0900 GMT), according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Suga’s approval ratings have dipped, with many unhappy with his handling of the pandemic, polls showed. That could deal a blow to his plan to prop up local economies and may threaten the chances of his premiership beyond next autumn.

The government has paused its “Go To Travel” campaign in two cities, but Suga said on Thursday the travel subsidy programme would be extended beyond the original end date of January 2021.

“We need to support the tourism industry, which is indispensable for the local economy,” Suga told a tourism strategy meeting.

The world’s third-largest economy rebounded in the third quarter from a pandemic-induced slump, thanks to surging consumption and exports, but some analysts worry about slowing growth ahead because of the resurgence in infections.

Suga also faces a political controversy involving his predecessor, Shinzo Abe, who resigned in September.

He was widely seen as Abe’s right-hand man during his tenure and has defended him in parliament.

Tokyo prosecutors are considering a summary indictment of two officials in Abe’s office over alleged violations of a funding law, the daily Asahi reported on Friday.

(Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Gerry Doyle)

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Japanese PM Suga to hold news conference amid third coronavirus wave: media – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, is set to hold a news conference to provide an update on the country’s pandemic response on Friday, local media reported, his first since coronavirus case numbers surged in November.

Suga is expected to explain his backing of a widely criticised travel subsidy campaign meant to help revive the economy amid infection controls.

In recent weeks, a third wave of the coronavirus has arrived in parts of the country, and some medical groups and experts blame it on a government campaign to encourage domestic tourism.

His news conference is scheduled for late Friday, Jiji Press said, but the Prime Minister’s Office has yet to confirm it.

Suga’s approval ratings have dipped, with many unhappy with his handling of the pandemic, polls showed. That could deal a blow to his plan to prop up local economies and may threaten the chances of his premiership beyond next autumn.

The government has paused its “Go To Travel” campaign in two cities, but Suga said on Thursday the travel subsidy programme would be extended beyond the original end date of January 2021.

“We need to support the tourism industry, which is indispensable for the local economy,” Suga told a tourism strategy meeting.

The world’s third-largest economy rebounded in the third quarter from a pandemic-induced slump, thanks to surging consumption and exports, but some analysts worry about slowing growth ahead because of the resurgence in infections.

Suga also faces a political controversy involving his predecessor, Shinzo Abe, who resigned in September.

He was widely seen as Abe’s right-hand man during his tenure and has defended him in parliament.

Tokyo prosecutors are considering a summary indictment of two officials in Abe’s office over alleged violations of a funding law, the daily Asahi reported on Friday.

(Reporting by Ju-min Park; Editing by Gerry Doyle)

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