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The face of fake news

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Megyn Kelly took on more than just Alex Jones in her NBC “Sunday Night” interview. She took on fake news. I’m glad she did.

Honestly, I was very worried that Kelly would equivocate and underperform like she did with Russian President Vladimir Putin. I was worried that Jones would get a pass and use the performance to pick up even more viewers–and believers.

It turns out I was wrong, as were others who believed the interview was a bad idea.

It was important to expose the abhorrent conspiracies and ideals that Jones represents.

But motivations are really key here. I have to believe that Jones’ motivations are personal. He suffers from the same need for importance and recognition that the other main topic of Kelly’s piece–President Trump–succumbs to. Jones simply wants the clicks, the influence, and the power.

There are plenty of Twitter, Facebook, and web-based Jones wannabes, and some in the main stream media. The New York Times and the Washington Post are not immune from what Kelly termed “reckless accusation, followed by equivocations and excuses.” The MSM simply couches their version in “bombshell” headlines, unnamed sources and back-of-the-paper retractions.

There’s nothing inherently wrong, or un-American, about people like Jones. They’ve been around since before Erwin Wardman coined the term “yellow journalism” in 1998.

But there’s a more pernicious motive floating out there: foreign governments using people like Jones, and teenagers in Eastern European basements, to float their own anti-U.S. propaganda. The Russians are experts at disinformation–they call it “Dezinformatsiya.”

The Washington Post delved deep into the history of Russian fake news right after the election. In 2015, Adrian Chen published a chilling New York Times Magazine piece titled “The Agency” about Russian efforts to create fake news events and use social media “trolls” to promote their own interests.

Russia’s information war might be thought of as the biggest trolling operation in history, and its target is nothing less than the utility of the Internet as a democratic space. In the midst of such a war, the Runet (as the Russian Internet is often called) can be an unpleasant place for anyone caught in the crossfire. Soon after I met Leonid Volkov, he wrote a post on his Facebook wall about our interview, saying that he had spoken with someone from The New York Times. A former pro-Kremlin blogger later warned me about this. Kremlin allies, he explained, monitored Volkov’s page, and now they would be on guard. “That was not smart,” he said.

The fact that President Trump relies on the very same social media tools that the Russians have thoroughly infiltrated and corrupted in order to make his points and win political power–that translates to actual government power–is more than troubling.

It means that Alex Jones, President Trump, and the Russians are all feeding the same cancer of fake news.

I submit there’s very little difference in Trump claiming he’s the victim of a “Witch Hunt” by “deep state” operatives (or hinting at “tapes” of conversations with James Comey), Alex Jones claims that Sandy Hook was a hoax, and the “Internet Research Agency” creating a fake story about a chemical disaster in St. Mary Parish, Louisiana. They are all set ups not in service of truth, but in service of other motives.

But when we can’t tell the difference between real Russian interference and the president’s tweetstorms and Jones’ conspiracies, in a culture where these events lead to political violence, injury and death, someone’s got to call foul.

Kelly took the opportunity to call foul on Jones. I applaud that she did. If the main stream media, including her employer, NBC, would take the hint and back off from their one-sided attacks on Trump, conservatives, and Republicans, maybe her message would begin to spread.

If the media itself doesn’t take the high road in combatting fake news, not leaping to conclusions, burying stories that offend their own world view, and projecting pure opinion as objective fact, then how can we expect anyone to believe them?

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Culture and Religion

Harvard students figured out why women are paid less than men

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Harvard students figured out why women are paid less than men

It genuinely disgusts me that, despite how much we’ve progressed as a society, especially in regards to our treatment of minorities and women, men still earn more than women do. It makes me ashamed of my country. How can we still refer to the United States as the “Land of Opportunity” when women are only paid $0.80 for every $1.00 that men are paid despite working just as hard in the same positions? Hell, even that depressing number doesn’t accurately express how large the gender pay gap is, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

In the report, titled Still a Man’s Labor Market: The Slowly Narrowing Gender Wage Gap, published in November 2018, the organization revealed that women earn a mere 49% of what men do. What’s worse is that it won’t be until 2059 that men and women have 100% equal pay, assuming the gap continues to narrow as slowly as it currently is. This is absolutely unacceptable, and it’s well past time Congress made it illegal for employers to pay women less than men for the same work.

At least, that’s what I would say if I was a leftist moron who still pays attention to the easily debunked “women earn less than men because of sexism” argument that’s been regurgitated countless times over the years.

The reality is that Congress made it illegal for employers to pay people differently based on their sex decades ago. It was called the “Equal Pay Act” and it was signed into law by President John F. Kennedy all the way back in June 1963. Ever since then, employers have been able to pay employees differently based on their merit, their seniority, their work output, or really whatever factors the employer desires… except sex.

A man and a woman in identical positions with identical output are legally required to be paid the same amount, and employers that fail to do so run the risk of some hefty legal ramifications. But if that’s the case, then why do the numbers presented by the IWPR show that there’s such a massive gender pay gap? Is the Equal Pay Act ineffective? Did the IWPR mess up its numbers? Is there some patriarchal plot to keep women from making money?

No, no, and no. The real answer is incredibly simple, and it’s one I’m sure most of us were able to figure out on our own the first time we heard the “women earn ($0.75, $0.79, $0.80) for every $1.00 that men earn” statistic that’s been getting thrown around for years. Basically, men are paid more than women on average because they seek out more lucrative jobs on average and work longer hours on average. If you take the combined earnings of all the women in the United States in a given year, divide that number by how many women worked at any point in that year, and then do the same for men, you’ll see that the earnings-per-working-woman are quite a bit lower than the earnings-per-working-man, so clearly there is a gender pay gap. However, despite what leftists like the people at the IWPR want you to believe, this gap has nothing to do with sexism.

This was demonstrated in a report, also published in November 2018, by two PhD Candidates in Economics at Harvard University. In the report, titled Why Do Women Earn Less Than Men? Evidence from Bus and Train Operators, the two students examined the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in order to figure out why such a heavily unionized agency in such a notoriously progressive city (Boston) still paid its female employees $0.89 for every $1.00 it paid its male employees. The answer was, once again, incredibly simple. Women were less likely than men to work overtime hours while also being more likely to take unpaid time off. That’s it. That’s all there is to it.

Men tended to prefer making more money to having more free time, while women tended to prefer having more free time to making more money. While an argument could be made that more employers should account for the different preferences of men and women, something the report actually advises on how to do, there’s no basis for the argument that the gender pay gap is a result of sexism.

It should be noted that the Harvard report examined just one industry in one metropolitan area, which means the findings aren’t applicable everywhere, but the gist of them is. Yes, there is a gender pay gap. That’s an objective fact. However, it has nothing to do with sexism. The causes of the gap vary from industry to industry and place to place, but they almost always have to do with the inherent differences between men and women. I think there’s a conversation to be had about whether or not this is an issue, and if it is, whether it’s up to employers, society, or women themselves to solve it, but to even have that conversation requires us to abandon the idea that sexism is the cause. There are certainly some instances where it is the cause, but the vast majority of the time, it’s not.

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Culture and Religion

A guide to classical liberalism

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A guide to classical liberalism

The modern interpretation of the ideology known as “liberalism” is usually associated with the progressive left. Despite the roots of true liberalism – individualism, Natural Rights, and liberty itself – the modern understanding of liberalism has been skewed to make people think more of illiberal politicians like Bernie Sanders instead of Constitutional originalists like Antonin Scalia as liberals.

This 27-minute video does a fine job of breaking down the historical ideas that brought about classical liberalism and the men who brought them to light. It also accurately points out that equality of opportunity for individuals is necessary for a modern society, thus it was this mentality that brought about the end of slavery and the promotion of women’s rights.

From John Locke to James Madison, from the thinkers of Great Britain to the founding fathers of the United States, this video from The Academic Agent brings us through the history of classical liberalism.

For a brief introduction we posted a shorter video earlier:

What classical liberalism is, briefly

http://noqreport.com/2018/12/12/classical-liberalism-briefly/The progressive left and the Democratic Party have undergone many transformations over the last century. They’ve masterfully spun American understanding of language and labels to the point that history has been in a constant state of being rewritten to conform to their machinations. One of the most perverse examples of this is how they now claim the mantle of “liberalism.”

Sadly, those who embrace Natural Rights, limited government, and individualism have been forced to amend our label as liberals to become “classical liberals” for the sake of escaping confusion. Most Americans today would assume if we call ourselves “liberals” that we must be big fans of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

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Culture and Religion

Fine-tuning and incredible calibration points to creation over random chance

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Fine-tuning and incredible calibration points to creation over random chance

Homicide investigator J. Warner Wallace is familiar with looking for tampering. His job makes him look for things that don’t fit. At his core, he is forced to ask questions about the various situations he investigates in order to see where the evidence points.

When he’s not catching bad guys, he’s a Christian apologist. In this role, he utilizes the same skills he’s honed over the decades as an investigator to demonstrate why it makes much more sense to believe in creation than a randomly generated universe.

The author of Cold-Case Christianity started off as a skeptical atheist, but as he investigated deeper, he soon realized it was impossible for the secular worldview to be correct as it pertained to the origins of the universe and life on the planet.

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