Fake News: Its getting a little sticky in the Gulf

A crisis of relevance
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Newspaper proprietors—no saints—used to wield tremendous influence over politicians. Now media outlets perfectly align themselves with political parties. All while we were worrying that fashion brands would launch their own magazines and take their advertising back. So naturally, journalism is having a relevance crisis.

Journalism as we used to know it was split as to whether it was an honest trade or an honorable profession. In the era of sharing and peer-to-peer publishing, we have formed two new, distinct groups. The first might be characterized by a production line of mysteriously named sites from distant ends of the political spectrum that can create a headline with which your most maddening relative passionately agrees and place it atop a report that may or may not bear out the headline.

This stuff, enthusiastically shared until it no longer matters where it came from, drives reporters mad. It plays perfectly into what someone wants to be true and it clears a near enough barrier, so we collectively ignore it and hope it goes away. And the practice is not confined to Macedonian teenagers. Generally, no one recognizes the name of the publisher of this stuff, but thanks to platform dominance, no one notices our storied brand names as much, either. But confirmation bias is viral and the lure is increasingly proving too great for a few of those struggling storied brands.

It turned out to have been loosely based on some original journalism by one of our reporters. Was it true? Well, not really, no. Not anymore.

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Conscientiously reported and edited by newsroom professionals whom you know or work with, these rare pieces, reflecting meticulous craftwork and long hours that arrived to rounds of congratulatory applause, were once what we used to just call journalism. But to understand where they sit alongside the confirmation-bias industry, we might now think of them as artisanal journalism.

It might help to think of the trajectory of theater as a popular art form. First it was for the masses, often coarse and rarely grand, secretly attended by royalty, available to all from the stands. Over time, more elite, fetishized grandeur accompanied the spending of a lot of money—the pinnacle might be a performance of Aida at the pyramids or a launch party paid for by Harvey Weinstein.

I can think of a few peak artisanal journalism providers and so can you. Those productions are so rich, so fulfilling, so important they will win a prize every time, but by god they are not quick and they are not cheap. No one sets out to produce journalism to confirm bias or fulfill the wish of a deranged relation.

No one sets out to produce handcrafted, organic, unread journalism, either. It seems just as naive to say you believe in the virtue of journalism as to claim there is integrity in the arts or that some facts are indisputable.

I believe that audiences see the difference between properly reported, compelling stories and nonsense. I have faith that entertainment is one thing and information is another. I know and see every day that an act of terror or a national tragedy will provoke an immediate demand for information, the answering of questions, and holding to account of politicians.

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That change can be effected by outrage generated by enterprising reporting. Industry groups and many GOP lawmakers applauded the moves, arguing that the rules would have increased litigation costs and raised prices for consumers, while small farmer groups and Democrats slammed the changes. So far, however, the administration has left the mandate alone—and this week the Internal Revenue Service took a step to strengthen it. That disclosure is required under the ACA, but in the first two years since the mandate took effect, the IRS still processed tax returns that left the question blank, giving some Americans a backdoor way to evade the rule.

Now, in something of a surprise, the IRS is closing that loophole. Treasury declines to label China a currency manipulator—again In April, when the Treasury Department released its semi-annual report on foreign currency practices, its first under Trump, many experts were surprised that it did not officially label China a currency manipulator—a major, and very specific, promise Trump had made in his campaign.

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But when Treasury released its newest foreign currency report this week , it once again did not label China a currency manipulator. Taken together, the new report suggests that, at least on currency issues, Trump is adopting a conventional White House strategy , much like that of Presidents Barack Obama and George W. But under Trump, BLM reversed its own finding, releasing a letter this week that said the pipeline no longer requires agency approval. But the BLM finding removes a major hurdle. A setback for NAFTA renegotiations When Mexico, Canada and the United States began renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement in August, they pledged to complete the process before the end of the year—understanding that a deal would get only harder to reach during the Mexican presidential election.

But this week, the three nations effectively gave up on that timeline, pushing back the next round of negotiations until late November over "significant conceptual gaps among the parties," and admitting that the talks could stretch into But it still set off alarm bells in Washington and in boardrooms, where lawmakers and business executives are growing increasingly concerned that Trump will withdraw from the pact altogether. Trump opens the door to a drone zone As U. To many private-sector companies, though, those rules have slowed a potentially productive industry and prevented America from becoming a leader in this technology.

This week, Trump sided with the commercial companies when he sent a memo to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao directing her to create a pilot program within 90 days that would loosen rules around drone usage. An innovation zone could be as large as an entire state and would likely target three specific FAA restrictions on flying drones over people, at night and out of sight of the operator. The Interior Department launches an offshore sale and more Under Barack Obama, the Interior Department protected huge swaths of federal land from oil and gas drilling, efforts that were praised by environmentalists and criticized by industry.

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But since Ryan Zinke rode into office in March, the department has reversed course—and, in three separate moves this week, Zinke made his biggest effort yet to unleash a new era of drilling. First, on Tuesday, Interior proposed its biggest offshore oil and gas lease sale in its history, putting 77 million acres—an area the size of New Mexico—up for sale.

I. A Broken Office

The status, known as Temporary Protected Status, allows foreign nationals whose home country is hit by a war or natural disaster to temporarily live and work in the U. Newspaper proprietors—no saints—used to wield tremendous influence over politicians. A listing there would be a sign that Chinese firms are taking out insurance to lower their dependence on Western finance. Blaming Anushka for Virat's zero makes no sense: Sania. Strangely, even though New Zealand had ousted India, there was no anger or resentment towards them from the Indian fans. The reason content is so easy to spread is down to the Facebook algorithm that rewards post engagement. Under Bush, the Labor Department issued lots of opinion letters.

The sale will occur next March and includes all available, unleased areas in the Gulf of Mexico. Taken together, the three moves represent a major effort to roll back Obama-era environmental restrictions and ramp up drilling, infuriating environmentalists and pleasing the oil and gas industry.

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Fake News: It's getting a little sticky in the Gulf eBook: Davis Whiteman: Amazon. in: Kindle Store. Fake News: It's getting a little sticky in the Gulf - Kindle edition by Davis Whiteman . Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets.

As much as Zinke may want to encourage new drilling, simple economics may block his plans for now. With silence from D. A so-called Section innovation waiver grants states additional flexibility in their insurance markets, as long as they stay within the basic parameters of the law, and get approval from Washington.

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Trump health officials had taken more than two months to respond to the waiver, and on Monday, Iowa withdrew it entirely. For instance, Iowa Gov. Now his administration seems to have drawn a line. Those countries, though, receive major trade advantages with the U. This week, the Office of the U. Trade Representative announced that it will crack down on countries that take advantage of those preferences, creating a new process to review whether countries actually qualify for tariff cuts.

Right now, countries meet the eligibility criteria to export products duty-free into the U. The new effort is an attempt to stop any such abuse. But the rule has faced criticism from some networks and Republicans as being outdated in the internet age, when people can contact local networks on social media or through email, instead of visiting them in person. Pai argued that eliminating the rule would allow broadcasters to focus more resources on local coverage.

To Pai and his supporters, the moves are a long overdue change to an outdated regulatory system around broadcast television. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta had previously signaled that he opposed the rule, and to most observers, the rule was dead. But a new overtime rule—almost certainly with a lower salary threshold than DOL proposed under Obama—might be coming.

State Department releases overdue guidance on Russian sanctions In August, faced with the threat of a veto override, Trump reluctantly signed a bill imposing sanctions on Russia for its meddling in the presidential election. But as of Oct. But with two recent actions, the State Department put some of those concerns to rest. Last Friday, nearly a month late, the department released a list of more than three dozen Russian entities that will be sanctioned under the bill. But State is at least implementing the sanctions legislation. But it came with a catch: Tight eligibility restrictions.

The Utah plan would offer Medicaid coverage to certain people earning up to percent of the federal poverty line, instead of percent as envisioned under Obamacare. Utah later added work requirements and a time limit on coverage to its waiver proposal. But this week, the Trump administration gave Utah and its Republican governor, Gary Herbert, the green light on a revised plan that will provide coverage to up to 6, of the neediest low-income adults—those chronically homeless or suffering from substance abuse issues—in the state.

The federal government will provide 70 percent of the money, equal to the matching rate under the traditional Medicaid program in Utah but below the rate set by Obamacare for the expansion populations. Many Democrats and liberal health experts have been concerned that the Trump administration would grant waivers to states to impose new eligibility restrictions on Medicaid, including work requirements, while conservatives have been excited about the opportunity to test different Medicaid reforms in the states.

The approval of the Utah waiver signals those liberal fears and conservative excitement may become a reality. A trade war with Canada? In September, the countries appeared to have a chance at avoiding a messy trade fight when the Commerce Department delayed those duties as the two sides tried to negotiate a settlement.

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But this week, any hopes of an agreement were dashed when Commerce imposed final duties on certain Canadian softwood lumber products. Under U. The countries, in the past, have generally managed to settle the decades-long dispute through negotiations, without resorting to trade sanctions. Canada sharply criticized the U. A fight that has been simmering for years has finally burst into flames—and may get even hotter in the months ahead. EPA bans certain scientists from its advisory boards Within the Environmental Protection Agency are a few important science boards that evaluate research used by the agency in rule-makings and that recommend certain science-based environmental standards, including on air pollution.

While little known to the public, the boards act as something of a scientific backstop to an agency that often is involved in politically contentious fights. Critics called the move a purge that would allow Pruitt to stack the boards with business-friendly scientists who would shift the recommendations of the boards and give the agency scientific backing to adopt less stringent environmental standards.

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Pruitt and his allies responded that the move is needed to prevent conflicts of interest and ensure that the board members are independent. When those bills died, it appeared that Medicaid work requirements died with them. But her speech this week was a clear sign that big changes are coming to Medicaid—even without any help from Congress. USDA delays organic livestock welfare rule The day before Obama left office, the Department of Agriculture made one last attempt to improve conditions for organically raised animals, publishing new requirements on everything from that ensuring animals have daily access to the outdoors to acceptable euthanasia methods to bedding material during transport.