Friday, December 16, 2016
I've been obsessed with the story of "fake news"- the actual made-up-of-whole-cloth stuff that dominated Facebook and Twitter during this election season.
But perhaps even worse has been the stilted corporate press coverage of this supposed "Russian hacking the elections" story which, while not actually counterfeit has been presented as factual despite the fact that it is almost almost 100% conjecture without any real evidence produced by the so-called US "intelligence community."
I've spent weeks trying to blow a hole in reactions to- to re-coin a term- "faux-info" by, shall we say, the less astute among us who have been insisting that it's the traditional media that's "the real fake news." And that's led to a dispute about the very definition of fake news.
But after watching the morning news I feel like giving up.
First up on CBS' a.m. news today was the pounding of the Russian hacking story with pronouncements of various degrees of evidence-free, speculative certitude. The use of the terms "possible," "maybe," and other such qualifiers is routinely and progressively abandoned by each successive pontificating pundit and definitive statements about what one partisan or another is saying about the matter becoming more important that any actual evidence for it.
The next story was Facebook's promise to rid peoples' "newsfeeds" of "fake" or completely fabricated news while remaining an information distributor instead of a media company (a very important legal distinction) by using some convoluted filter through which other media outlets will tag these kinds of posts without much attention to the issue of what is fake and what is just opinionated or slanted.
"What is reality?" we ask. The question of who can we we trust seems to have become more important that what.
So after varying degrees of fakeness we got to the third story this morning- the cold weather.
Ah... time for some accurate- if useless to us in Hawai`i- non-fake, accuracy.
And there stood the weather guy in front of his map of the continental US with what appeared to be the latest measurable numbers- the temperatures from around the nation. Can't fake that- the mercury (or at least your iPhone) never lies.
But there, on the top of the map, are the words telling us that these are simply "Feels Like" temperatures- not the actual thermometer readings but something someone made up to tell us, as the overly-sensationalized, mainstream media is wont to do, it's worse than it actually is.
Yes- that's right- IT'S THE FAKE WEATHER.
What's next? "This snow is so deep that, even though it's six inches, when you step in it it "feels like" it's a foot deep."
Wait- what? Did I hear right?: "Alien Dolphins Have Taken Over Congress." Film at 10.
Saturday, December 10, 2016
(PNN) -- Kaua`i-- Although a county press release doesn't say which tour company took tourists to Secret Falls in bad weather when rain was apparently so bad that a woman required air rescue.
Last week a woman died and nine others had to be rescued when Kayak Wailua took a tour to the same falls during a flash flood warning prompting owner Peter Fisher to sya that in the future he would not run tours during flash flood watches or warnings.
According to the Kaua`i Fire Department release "(r)escuers were prepared to hike the woman out of the area using a Stokes litter, but requested Air 1 assistance due to the hazardous condition of the trail."
Thursday, December 8, 2016
[PNN] (Kaua`i) -- Kayak Wailua owner Peter Fisher reportedly says he will no longer conduct kayak tours of Wailua River when a flash flood watch or warning is in effect after a tourist drowned in a flash flood Sunday while taking one of his kayak tours.
A flash flood warning was in effect for all of Kaua`i at the time and had been, on and off, for three days .Fisher has reportedly claimed it was a "calm... sunny day" on Sunday.
Flooding had been occurring on the North and East sides of Kaua`i all weekend.
During a flash flood, flooding happens suddenly and during a "warning" flooding is imminent or currently occurring.
Another of Fisher's customers died in 2010 when one of Fisher's tour guides reportedly told a man it was okay to swing from some long vines "like Tarzan," according to a lawsuit filed in Utah where the tourist was from. He apparently fell and hit his head on a rock and wandered off after first landing on hos mother-in-law and braking her leg His body was found six days later.
Calls for Fisher's arrest and prosecution have permeated social media this week. So far there has been no comment from the Kaua`i PD on possible charges. There have also been numerous, but thus far unverified, claims on social media saying that his employees had told people before the incident that they are pressured never to cancel tours no matter what the weather.