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Anatomy of a Fake News Scandal
The revelations overcame Edgar Maddison Welch like a hallucinatory fever. On December 1st, 2016, the father of two from Salisbury, North Carolina, a man whose pastimes included playing Pictionary with his family, tried to persuade two friends to join a rescue mission. Alex Jones, the Info-Wars host, was reporting that Hillary Clinton was sexually abusing children in satanic rituals a few hundred miles north, in the basement of a Washington, D.C., pizza restaurant...Welch did not find any captive children – Comet Ping Pong does not even have a basement – but he did prove, if there were any lingering doubts after the election, that fake news has real consequences. Welch's arrest was the culmination of an election cycle dominated by fake news – and by attacks on the legitimate press...That was exactly how the right-wing-media ecosystem worked during the 2016 campaign, explains Yochai Benkler
, who directs the Berkman-Klein Center for the Internet and Society at Harvard. After the election, he and his colleagues mapped about 2 million campaign-news stories. He found that far-right-media outlets were organized extremely tightly around Breitbart and, to a lesser degree, FoxNews.com. "The right paid attention to right-wing sites, and the more right-wing they were, the more attention they got," Benkler says.
Trump’s Clinton Fixation Should Scare All Americans
An op-ed by Cass Sunstein
...To be sure, no one is above the law. Political opponents of a president cannot claim immunity from prosecution. But the bar must be set very high. That conclusion is vindicated not only by principle, but also by longstanding traditions. Whether Republican or Democratic, American presidents have been extraordinarily reluctant to call for prosecution of their political rivals. They have looked forward rather than backward. With his enthusiasm for prosecuting Hillary Clinton, President Donald Trump is breaking that longstanding norm of American democracy.
Opening the gates, closing the education gap
, professor of history in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law, faculty director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute, and co-director of the Program in Law and History at Harvard Law School, grew up in the Deep South in the 1970s and was among the first African-Americans in her area to attend an integrated school. “Many will say desegregation is too costly for black students; there’s social isolation, low expectations, and a lot of other disadvantages,” Brown-Nagin said. “But at bottom the benefits outweigh the costs. Students who attend desegregated schools end up with higher career aspirations and in a higher place in our world.”
Neil Gorsuch reflects on ‘surreal’ court tenure
Justice Neil Gorsuch returned to the faithful on Thursday night to address the Federalist Society, a conservative group that was instrumental to his nomination to the Supreme Court. Greeted by a standing ovation, Gorsuch delivered a rousing tribute to the conservative jurisprudence of the man whose seat he filled: the late Justice Antonin Scalia. Gorsuch admitted, however, that the months since his nomination have been "surreal" at times..."Justice Gorsuch's manner at oral argument has rubbed some people the wrong way, but I'm not one of them," said Ian Samuel
, a lecturer at Harvard Law School and host of First Mondays, a weekly podcast about the Supreme Court. "It is refreshing to have a justice join the court and decide they're not going to ease into it like a warm bath -- he's there to do a job and he decided to hit the ground running from day one," Samuel said.
JFK’s grandson: ‘Once you start law school, people are too busy studying to care who you are’
[`20], the only grandson of the late President John F. Kennedy, spoke out on climate change and joked about life on Harvard’s campus during an appearance at the university’s Institute of Politics Thursday...Schlossberg: Harvard Law School is great. I’m lucky to be here. It’s a really difficult, intense experience. But I know so much more than I did the day before I got to law school, so that’s a cool feeling.
U.S. News & World Report
‘I Believe the Women’
The first time a woman made a very public allegation of sexual harassment before Congress, against a very prominent man, she was greeted with skepticism and hostility by male members of Congress...More than a quarter century later, public people in politics, entertainment and journalism are battling sexual harassment or assault charges...But one things appears to be changing, something that was voiced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell when he was asked about the Alabama man hoping to join McConnell's caucus next month. "I believe the women," McConnell said in his characteristic, low-key intonation...Catharine MacKinnon
, who pioneered the legal concept of sexual harassment, notes the change in attitude – if not necessarily behavior. "Women reporting sexual harassment, for the moment at least, are being believed. The biggest difference as a result is that what was a privilege of power has become a disgrace," says MacKinnon, who teaches law at both Harvard Law School and the University of Michigan.
An Open Letter to the Members of the Massachusetts Legislature Regarding the Adoption of Actuarial Risk Assessment Tools in the Criminal Justice System
An open letter to the Massachusetts Legislature from Chelsea Barabas, Christopher Bavitz, Ryan Budish, Karthik Dinakar, Cynthia Dwork, Urs Gasser, Kira Hessekiel, Joichi Ito, Ronald L. Rivest, Madars Virza, and Jonathan Zittrain.
Dear Members of the Massachusetts Legislature: We write to you in our individual capacities¹ regarding the proposed introduction of actuarial risk assessment (“RA”) tools in the Commonwealth’s criminal justice system. As you are no doubt aware, Senate Bill 2185² — passed by the Massachusetts Senate on October 27, 2017 — mandates implementation of RA tools in the pretrial stage of criminal proceedings...As researchers with a strong interest in algorithms and fairness, we recognize that RA tools may have a place in the criminal justice system. In some cases, and by some measures, use of RA tools may promote outcomes better than the status quo. That said, we are concerned that the Senate Bill’s implementation of RA tools is cursory and does not fully address the complex and nuanced issues implicated by actuarial risk assessments.
Catharine MacKinnon: Women’s refusal to be subordinate is beautiful
Literature intersects with current affairs, philosophy, cricket, cinema, economics and theatre at the ongoing Tata Literature Live! LitFest in Mumbai. The four-day festival, which is discussing a range of burning issues, looks at the world through the lenses of Nobel laureates, writers, economists and intellectuals...Lounge caught up on email with Catharine A. MacKinnon
, one of the US’ leading feminist scholars, a lawyer and an academic...[Mackinnon]:Many women, and men who oppose sexual harassment, are engaging the conversation on the best way forward at this juncture of change. The fact that sexual harassment affects all women does not mean that it affects all women in the same ways, or that all women are equally vulnerable to it. But it is true that women are subjected to pressures to deliver sexually in order to survive or advance economically, educationally, and in their work generally.