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Common Core Co-Author Admits He Wrote Curriculum to End “White Privilege”

Common Core Co-Author Admits He Wrote Curriculum to End “White Privilege”

Google wants to rank websites based on facts not links

by Hal Hodson
The trustworthiness of a web page might help it rise up Google's rankings if the search giant starts to measure quality by facts, not just links

THE internet is stuffed with garbage. Anti-vaccination websites make the front page of Google, and fact-free "news" stories spread like wildfire. Google has devised a fix – rank websites according to their truthfulness.

Google's search engine currently uses the number of incoming links to a web page as a proxy for quality, determining where it appears in search results. So pages that many other sites link to are ranked higher. This system has brought us the search engine as we know it today, but the downside is that websites full of misinformation can rise up the rankings, if enough people link to them.

A Google research team is adapting that model to measure the trustworthiness of a page, rather than its reputation across the web. Instead of counting incoming links, the system – which is not yet live – counts the number of incorrect facts within a page. "A source that has few false facts is considered to be trustworthy," says the team. The score they compute for each page is its Knowledge-Based Trust score.

The software works by tapping into the Knowledge Vault, the vast store of facts that Google has pulled off the internet. Facts the web unanimously agrees on are considered a reasonable proxy for truth. Web pages that contain contradictory information are bumped down the rankings.

There are already lots of apps that try to help internet users unearth the truth. LazyTruth is a browser extension that skims inboxes to weed out the fake or hoax emails that do the rounds. Emergent, a project from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University, New York, pulls in rumours from trashy sites, then verifies or rebuts them by cross-referencing to other sources.

LazyTruth developer Matt Stempeck, now the director of civic media at Microsoft New York, wants to develop software that exports the knowledge found in fact-checking services such as Snopes, PolitiFact and FactCheck.org so that everyone has easy access to them. He says tools like LazyTruth are useful online, but challenging the erroneous beliefs underpinning that information is harder. "How do you correct people's misconceptions? People get very defensive," Stempeck says. "If they're searching for the answer on Google they might be in a much more receptive state."

This article appeared in print under the headline "Nothing but the truth"

12-year-old Locked Out of Facebook After Saying Obama Doesn't Love America

By Greg Richter
CJ Pearson, a politically active 12-year-old from Augusta, Georgia, says he has been locked out of his Facebook account after posting a video saying President Barack Obama doesn't love America.
Pearson, who serves as the executive director of Young Georgians in Government, posted the video on YouTube and Facebook on February 21. As of late Sunday afternoon, the YouTube video had received 1.3 million views.


But when he woke up Friday and tried to log in to Facebook, his account was locked. He told WRDW-TV on Sunday his personal account is still locked, but not his public page.

Pearson had his editor post an update on that page for his fans.

"I am having my Editor, Alan Davidson post on my behalf on this page while Facebook continues to lock me out. The 1st mendment is obviously not a big concern to the powers at be at Facebook, but we will continue to fight back!" Pearson wrote.

In the video, titled, "President Obama: Do you really love America?" Pearson praises former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for a controversial statement he made last week that Obama does not love America in the same way most people do.

"Here's the truth of the matter. I don't want to be politically correct. I don't care about being politically correct at this point. President Obama, you don't love America," Pearson says.

"If you really did love America, you would call ISIS what it really is, an assault on Christianity, an assault on America, and downright hate for the values our country holds, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and every single thing our country stands for," Pearson continued.

"If you loved America, President Obama, if you loved America, you wouldn't try to take away what hard-working Americans have worked for their entire lives," he said. "You wouldn't do this if you loved the people of America."

'Obama Threatened to Shoot Down IAF Iran Strike' - Middle East - News - Arutz Sheva

'Obama Threatened to Shoot Down IAF Iran Strike' - Middle East - News - Arutz Sheva

Who Wants to Buy the New York Daily News?

The beleaguered tabloid’s billionaire owner wants to sell—and a new owner best be ready to hemorrhage $20 million a year. Could Rupert Murdoch be that man?

In yet another seismic shudder in the traumatized journalism business, billionaire real estate developer and media mogul Mortimer B. Zuckerman—the owner of the New York Daily News since 1993—announced on Thursday that he plans to sell the venerable but money-losing tabloid.

“The reaction is utter shock,” a longtime Daily News reporter told The Daily Beast minutes after Zuckerman’s memo revealing his intention to “explore the possibility [of a sale] and talk to potential buyers and/or investors” arrived by email blast in employees’ inboxes Thursday afternoon.

“Everybody knew that someday this might happen, but this is completely out of the blue,” said the reporter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “The memo came out, and everybody looked at it and a lot of people said, ‘Holy shit!’”

Former Daily News editor in chief Martin Dunn, who ran the newsroom twice—for three years in the 1990s and again from 2004 to 2010—also expressed surprise at Zuckerman’s announcement. “I’m shocked,” Dunn told The Daily Beast. “Mort was always very proud of the fact that the Daily News had a huge political influence in the city. With the continuing troubles in newspaper circulation, perhaps that influence isn’t as great as it used to be.”

The print edition of the paper, which once sold in the millions of copies, these days has a paid weekday circulation of about 400,000, the sort of precipitous decline in the digital age that has affected nearly every newspaper, including the city’s rival tabloid, the 213-year-old New York Post

Advertising revenue has also plunged, especially because the traditional backbone of newspaper revenue, classified advertising, evaporated with the advent of free online classified sites such as Craigslist.

New York’s tabloid war, said a battle-scarred veteran, has become a pitiable spectacle of “two bald guys fighting over a comb."

Zuckerman, 77, wrote to his employees that after being approached “a few weeks ago” about the possibility of selling his 95-year old newspaper—a favorite of strap-hanging commuters in the working-class precincts of New York City’s outer boroughs—“I have retained Lazard, a leading financial advisory firm,” to help facilitate a sale of the paper or else secure outside investors to help shoulder the costs.

“I have not come to this decision easily,” wrote Zuckerman, who signed his memo “Mort.” “I appreciate that this news is difficult for you to digest. But I want to reassure you that my aim throughout this process will be to do the right thing for the business to ensure the Daily News and its brilliant staff have the best opportunity to achieve all our future ambitions.”

Zuckerman, who didn’t return a phone call seeking comment, didn’t hint at the existence of a potential buyer, but two observers with knowledge of his business practices suggested that he wouldn’t have sent the memo—or, for that matter, hired the pricey advisers at Lazard—if a deal wasn’t already in the works.

“Why would you write that memo unless it’s already well under way?” said a media insider who is intimately familiar with Zuckerman’s modus operandi. A second knowledgeable observer agreed: 

“Mort would never put out a memo saying negotiations are going to take place unless a deal has been done. That is so blatantly obvious.”

But two other Zuckerman-watchers said it is equally possible that the mogul, whose personal net worth is estimated by Forbes at $2.6 billion, is still actively seeking someone to take the paper off his hand. According to persons with knowledge of the situation, the Daily News is hemorrhaging money at a rate of about $20 million a year.

According to a person who had a conversation about the Daily News with Mike Bloomberg when he was at City Hall, the financial media billionaire once mused privately that if he had not been elected mayor, he would have tried to buy the paper from Zuckerman.

Other possible suitors, according to a report in Capital New York, include the Dolan family—of Cablevision, Madison Square Garden, and Newsday fame—and the newspaper chain-owning Newhouse clan.

But in interviews with media insiders Thursday, the most frequently mentioned potential buyer was 21st Century Fox and News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch, the owner since 1976 of the Post, which loses as much as $70 million a year. According to these observers, it would make business sense for Murdoch, whose personal wealth is estimated by Forbes at $14.1 billion, to purchase the Daily News and simply shut it down, with the Post likely to benefit, at least in the short term, from increased circulation and advertising revenue.

New Yorker magazine media writer Ken Auletta told The Daily Beast: “I know for a fact that Murdoch and Zuckerman have circled each other for years, with each wanting to buy out the other in order to combine newspaper operations and get rid of competition. But Murdoch has deeper pockets than Mort Zuckerman does, and more patience.”

Indeed, Auletta recalled that in the mid-1990s when he was writing a profile of the Australian-born media titan, Murdoch told him that—never mind his Hollywood movie studio and television empire—his biggest joy was owning the Post and toiling in the newsroom over headlines and stories. 

Murdoch got his start, at age 21, remaking a small afternoon tabloid in Adelaide, Australia, into a valuable and profitable asset; the Adelaide News became the foundation of News Corp.

The Post, on the other hand, has lost money for years—quite a lot of it, actually—“but Murdoch does arithmetic differently than other people,” Auletta said.

“How many capitalists are willing to put up with repeated losses?” he continued. “Some people would buy it [the Daily News] for power or vanity, and you could imagine that happening. Murdoch has lost over a billion dollars on the New York Post since he bought it in the mid-’70s. But he does it because he calculates its value in other ways than financial. It gives him power. It gives him influence—not just political influence over politicians but also over issues he cares about.”
 
Zuckerman, by contrast, “has real political interests, but he doesn’t do what Murdoch has done. I don’t think he has the same love of newspapers,” Auletta said.

When the Zuckerman memo landed with an ominous thud, anxious Daily News employees were left to their own grim thoughts. The current editor in chief, Colin Myler—the latest in a series of 11 top editors that Zuckerman has hired and fired since he acquired the financially struggling tabloid more than two decades ago—wasn’t in the newsroom.

“His office has been dark all day,” said a Daily News employee. The 62-year-old Myler—a British Fleet Street veteran who was a senior editor at the Post before presiding over the closure of Murdoch’s News of The World tabloid amid the 2011 British phone-hacking scandal—didn’t return a phone call seeking comment. Three years ago, when he appointed Myler, Zuckerman told Newsweek

“I want him to stay there for the rest of his life.”

Presumably, whatever happens, Myler’s life will go on.

Soros, Ford Foundation shovel $196 million to 'net neutrality' groups, staff to White House

The IRS’s inspector general confirmed Thursday it is conducting a criminal investigation into how Lois G. Lerner’s emails disappeared, saying it took only two weeks for investigators to find hundreds of tapes the agency’s chief had told Congress were irretrievably destroyed.

Investigators have already scoured 744 backup tapes and gleaned 32,774 unique emails, but just two weeks ago they found an additional 424 tapes that could contain even more Lerner emails, Deputy Inspector General Timothy P. Camus told the House Oversight Committee in a rare late-night hearing meant to look into the status of the investigation.

“There is potential criminal activity,” Mr. Camus said.
 
He said they have also discovered the hard drives from the IRS’s email servers, but said because the drives are out of synch it’s not clear whether they will be able to recover anything from them.
“To date we have found 32,744 unique emails that were backed up from Lois Lerner’s email box. We are in the process of comparing these emails to what the IRS has already produced to Congress to determine if we did in fact recover any new emails,” Mr. Camus said.

Democrats questioned the independence of Inspector General J. Russell George, who is overseeing the investigation, saying he’s injected politics into his work.

Rep. Gerald Connolly, Virginia Democrat, said Mr. George is refusing to turn documents over to him, prompting a heated reply.

“You’re not entitled to certain documents,” Mr. George said.

“Oh really? We’ll see about that, won’t we,” Mr. Connolly replied, saying that he questioned whether Mr. George could be trusted if he’s refusing to provide documents, yet is in charge of an investigation into whether the IRS stonewalled document requests.

The hearing was the latest chapter in the complex investigation into the IRS’s targeting of tea party groups for special scrutiny.

Several congressional committees are still probing the matter, and both the inspector general and the Justice Department are conducting criminal investigations.

In a 2013 report, the inspector general said the IRS had improperly targeted conservative and tea party groups’ applications for nonprofit status, asking repeated intrusive questions and delaying their applications well beyond a reasonable time. Some of those groups are still waiting, with their applications now pending for years.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Utah Republican and Oversight Committee chairman, said the ongoing investigations undercut President Obama’s assertion last year that there was no evidence of corruption in the IRS’s targeting.

“I have no idea how the president came to such a definitive conclusion without all the facts,” he said.
The IRS belatedly told Congress it may have lost some of Ms. Lerner’s emails after her computer crashed, and asserted that the backup tapes didn’t exist.