If the late author George Orwell was correct that political language is “designed to make lies sound truthful” and “give an appearance of solidity to pure wind,” then surely social media was made to fan those lies far and wide. That’s much easier to do when bots artificially amplify disinformation. Automated accounts on Twitter do so in a variety of ways. One is by heavily promoting a lie immediately after it’s published, tricking real people into trusting and sharing it. Doing so is against Twitter’s rules on platform manipulation. But that’s apparently what happened this month when a Twitter account with relatively few followers posted a conspiracy theory falsely linking Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke to the Midland-Odessa mass shooter — and then swiftly received thousands of retweets. The original tweet was posted a day after the massacre to the account of Sue Moore, purportedly a 72-year-old retiree … [Read more...] about Tech giants should delete disinformation
Welcome to a new weekly segment The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board is calling winners and losers. It’s self-explanatory, so let’s get to it.This week’s winners are the drag queens who took the stage at a Chula Vista library Tuesday to read books to children. Yeah, it doesn’t sound all that unusual, to be honest. But when word spread that drag queens would be leading storytime at a library in Otay Ranch last month, an anti-LGBTQ organization — which the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled as a hate group and which we don’t deign to name — announced plans to protest them and demanded the event be canceled.Instead of caving in to bigotry, the library did what libraries do best: It encouraged people to read.The city of Chula Vista described the event as an opportunity to “learn the history of drag while encouraging acceptance, being yourself, and loving who you are!” In the end, two drag queens known as Raquelita and Barbie … [Read more...] about Editorial: Who won and lost this week in San Diego County
Plans for a new dining hall at Camp Bullis are indefinitely on hold now that funds have been siphoned away to build part of President Donald Trump’s border wall. It’s the same story with a middle school at Fort Campbell, an Army post on the Kentucky-Tennessee border. The border wall has stalled an ambulatory care center in North Carolina and a planned fire station in South Carolina. Hurricane recovery projects in Puerto Rico and Guam are also on hold. These are just some of the 127 construction projects that have been suspended as the Pentagon shifts $3.6 billion to the wall. The funds should cover 11 sections of the wall, spanning 115 miles along the U.S.-Mexico border. The dining hall drama is a reflection of misplaced priorities. But whatever your feelings about the wall and Trump’s declaration of an emergency to divert these funds, a new dining hall at Camp Bullis is overdue. Troops have eaten there since 1931, and as Express-News reporter Sig Christenson … [Read more...] about Restore funds for Camp Bullis dining hall
In 2016, The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board backed Proposition 64, legalizing adult recreational marijuana use. We’ve also called for medical cannabis products to be used more widely as painkillers instead of dangerous opioids. Yet Senate Bill 223 — which allows local school officials to permit parents to administer doctor-recommended, nonsmoking forms of cannabis to their K-12 students on campus — is concerning. Proponents say there are strict safeguards and that a new law is far preferable to the present law requiring parents to take their kids at least 1,000 feet from school before they can administer medical cannabis. They say that law isn’t just inconvenient; it takes valuable classroom time away from students. But critics worry that the law only requires a doctor’s recommendation, not a prescription, and fear that no good can come of normalizing the consumption of cannabis on school grounds — even for medical reasons. Then-Gov. Jerry … [Read more...] about Medical cannabis at K-12 schools? Be careful, California
After 30 horses died during the winter/spring meet at the Santa Anita racetrack — causing a national uproar — it felt as if the future of American horse racing was at risk when the Del Mar racetrack began its summer session in mid-July. Further carnage would have only amplified California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s already-harsh criticism and fueled more reforms by Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature. But the track’s extra safety practices paid off “brilliantly,” in the words of California Horse Racing Board Commissioner Fred Maas, as it was the safest track in the nation among nearly two dozen self-reporting tracks for the second straight year. Four horses died during training, two of those in a fluke head-on collision, and none died during races. While any horse deaths are tragic — and those who see horse racing as cruel and inhumane aren’t going to change their minds — this is a credit to Del Mar officials. They had already … [Read more...] about Editorial: Did Del Mar just save horse racing? Maybe.