Money Quote, Friday March 9 2018
So clearly, this real news round up won’t get shared much.
Hello NewCo Shift Readers. It’s been a week, forgive us for the down time. The Shift Forum really swamped us, and we’ve been both recovering and preparing videos and transcripts for release beginning early next week. Oh, and our editor in chief (that’d be me) has been stoned on opioids all week, thanks to shoulder surgery (it’s harder than I thought to write on this shit, turns out). Anyway, on to today’s news round up, and we hope to return to regular columns starting next week.
We love fake news, as if we didn’t already know. This MIT study proves it. MQ: “The massive new study analyzes every major contested news story in English across the span of Twitter’s existence — some 126,000 stories, tweeted by 3 million users, over more than 10 years — and finds that the truth simply cannot compete with hoax and rumor. By every common metric, falsehood consistently dominates the truth on Twitter, the study finds: Fake news and false rumors reach more people, penetrate deeper into the social network, and spread much faster than accurate stories.”
And here’s some history …. The always must-readable Renee DiResta on the first true malicious actor on social platforms: ISIS. MQ: “The social networks facilitated and enabled this new guard, simultaneously providing a captive user base, a virality engine infrastructure, no editorial oversight, and fairly limited rules. Not unexpectedly, the emergence of a relatively lawless federated system for reaching mass audiences attracted the attention of a bad actor…..The first major skirmish of the information war demonstrated to anyone watching that no one was in charge, either in government or in the private sector.”
Regardless of your politics, the US economy keeps logging good economic numbers. The February jobs report was particularly encouraging in that a key index of health — job growth in the 24–54 age group — grew significantly. MQ: “After years of declining participation in the labor force, people between 25 and 54 have been flocking back into the labor market and getting lots of jobs over the past three years. This is the age group that’s had the greatest attachment to the labor force.The percentage of this age group that is working rose to 79.3% in February, the highest level since June 2008.”
But don’t get too comfortable. It’s been nine years of bull markets, and that can’t last. MQ: “My concern is the extra supply of bonds and other upward pressures on longer rates even as the Fed hikes, keeping long-term yields from falling below short-term yields. The ballooning budget deficit that will exceed $1 trillion next year and debt held by the public will rise from the current 74.3 percent of gross domestic product in coming years to more than 90 percent in 2026 — and that doesn’t include the impact of the recent tax reform.”
The California Democratic party doesn’t strike me as a very well run place, given it failed to endorse a single woman candidate at its annual meeting last week. But it did endorse UBI, which strikes me as…random and trendy. I’m all for exploring and understanding the impact of this progressive policy. But making it a plank in a party platform? Feels opportunistic. MQ: “While UBI is still seen as a long shot on a national scale, the recent move signals that it’s entering the political mainstream in California. Democratic politicians in the state seeking party endorsement are supposed to read and get behind the party platform, including basic income.”
Speaking of politicians who I can’t understand, there’s this. Trump and trade tariffs feels like exactly the kind of policy debates we should be having. Odd how … normal this story sounds, compared to all the other stuff swirling around the man this week. MQ: “These exceptions suggest the administration is looking to use the threat of steel and aluminum tariffs as a cudgel to get a better deal out of those two close allies — which are also major exporters of metals to the United States — in mostly unrelated negotiations to revamp the 25-year-old agreement.”