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tv   Full Measure With Sharyl Attkisson  ABC  February 26, 2017 10:00am-10:30am EST

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sharyl: today's battleground in the information wars -- tv and the web. islamic extremist terrorists openly recruit online. >> we are men honored with islam to climb it's peak to wage jihad. sharyl: and u.s. officials say russian president vladimir putin exploited state-controlled tv news to discredit hillary clinton. >> polls nationwide show that the majority of americans do not trust hillary clinton. sharyl: covert warfare is also widely being waged by u.s. political and corporate actors. when people get online every day and take part in social media or do searches for news, what is it that you think they don't know? matthew brown: i don't think they know they're being manipulated. joce: in april of 2015, baltimore erupted in riots after the death of a black suspect. comm. kevin davis: it's one person at a time, one day at a time.
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joce: kevin davis is baltimore's police commissioner. comm. davis: we're never going to reach that point where 100% of the population loves the police. joce: gone now are strategies like "stop and frisk" and "zero tolerance" policing. heather macdonald: cops are backing off of proactive policing in high crime areas and, as a result, violent crime is rising at a dramatic rate. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] ♪ sharyl: welcome to "full measure." i'm sharyl attkisson. it's perhaps one of the most important and pitched battles of our time -- the battle to control information and sway public opinion. what can you believe? who's telling the truth? what's real?
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to historic lows since gallup first asked the question in 1972. 68% of americans saying they trust the media "not very much" or "none at all." that's up eight points in a year. and the web is a free-for-all where news is faked and popular sites are routinely subject to manipulation or censorship. today, we investigate efforts to control the sum of all knowledge. as a donald trump supporter, andrew torba felt like odd man out in california's silicon valley, home of prominent tech firms like apple, facebook, and google. last year, he was outraged when he attended this campaign rally in san jose and saw violent anti-trump protesters attacking trump supporters. did you post these feelings online? andrew torba: yes. sharyl: on what? andrew: on facebook, on twitter, i wrote a blog about
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into any of the issues or anything, i was automatically labeled a racist, a bigot, etc., etc. venture capitalists, people that i respected and had worked with on a very close level, just wrote me off completely and blacklisted me completely. sharyl: torba is now living in self-imposed exile in texas fighting what he sees as growing control of information online. he's started his own version of twitter called "gab." what was the idea behind it? andrew: the idea behind it is that news, information, and communication is really monopolized on the internet by a select group of people, about four or five leaders in one of the most progressive cities in the world with some of the most progressive workers in the world. and what i saw happening as a conservative in silicon valley was an agenda being pushed and the conservative side and conservative ideas being suppressed. sharyl: it's not only conservatives ke
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underway to control information. liberals and nonpartisans also complain of censorship, bias, and fake news. we're steeped in the most intense propaganda wars since world war two. >> the sign of a great fighter in the ring is, can he get up from the floor after being knocked down? london does this every morning. sharyl: that's when the nazis and the allies fought for their citizens' hearts and minds, devising propaganda campaigns to demoralize the enemy. >> [speaking german] sharyl: today's battleground in the information wars -- tv and the web. islamic extremist terrorists openly recruit online. >> we are men honored with islam who climbed its peaks perform jihad, answering the call to unite under one flag. sharyl: and u.s. officials say russian president vladimir putin exploited state-controlled tv news to discredit hillary clinton. >> polls nationwide
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trust hillary clinton. sharyl: covert warfare is also widely being waged by u.s. political and corporate actors. when people get online every day and take part in social media or do searches for news, what is it you think they don't know? matthew brown: i don't think they know they're being manipulated. sharyl: matthew brown is a data analyst who pierces the secrecy behind paid efforts to influence online. what areas of the internet are used to shape and manipulate opinions? matthew: everywhere social. everywhere social means specific facebook pages, but it also means the comment sections in every major newspaper. sharyl: brown began investigating after his health
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insurance costs tripled and he commented about it on the obamacare facebook page. he got bombarded, he says, by digital activists disguised as ordinary people. matthew: digital activists are paid employees. their purpose is to attack anyone who's posting something contrary to the view the page owner wants expressed. sharyl: brown decided to use analysis software to crunch the numbers. he evaluated 226,000 pro-obamacare posts made by 40,000 facebook profiles. what he found was remarkable. matthew: 60% of all the posts were made from 100 profiles, posting between the hours of 9:00 and 5:00 pacific time. sharyl: which means what? matthew: they were paid to post. sharyl: brown says it's rampant on social media. one popular tool -- "zombie profiles" that make automated "robo" posts. matthew: a zombie post is a fake, purchased, or rented facebook profile that's expressing the views of an organization as if it was his or her own. but, when in reality, the comment being expressed is done on software and written by generally one or two people. so, the zombie posts will go out on a schedule and then they are supported by zombie likes. sharyl: is there any reason to believe republicans don't do the same thing, and corporations, as well? matthew: there's no reason to
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doing it. sharyl: even the government is in the game. leaked emails show the feds seeking persona management, software to allow 10 personas per user. they talk of creating an army of fake social media profiles maintained by actors gaming to hide their true location, and using tricks to add a level of realness to all fictitious personas. campaign 2016 brought higher stakes and a new name to internet efforts to manipulate public opinion -- fake news. unsubstantiated rumors about both donald trump and hillary clinton went viral. there was pizzagate, which claimed clinton associates were running a child sex ring from a pizza parlor. trump was accused in a case of child rape. in october, president obama unveiled a push to curate the news. president obama: we are going to have to rebuild within this wild-wild-west of information flow some sort of curating function that people agree to.
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sharyl: the news media quickly joined the president's call. after a man motivated by pizzagate rumors fired a gun in the pizza parlor, clinton added her voice to the cause. hillary clinton: it is now clear that so-called fake news can have real world consequences. this is not about politics or partisanship. lives are at risk, lives of ordinary people just trying to go about their days to do their jobs, contribute to their communities. it's a danger that must be addressed and addressed quickly. sharyl: facebook announced an initiative to stop fake news. the head of the left-wing group media matters told donors the group played a critical role in forcing facebook's hand. but the fix involved using fact checkers that many conservatives see as biased. conservatives point to fake news in the mainstream media, like the false report claiming trump had removed a bust of civil rights leader martin luther king from the white house. president trump: zeke, from "time" magazine, writes a story
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about, i took down -- i would never do that, because i have great respect for dr. martin luther king. but this is how dishonest the media is. sharyl: more on this when we return. are social media sites controlling what you see online? >> when you type hillary clinton ind into bing or yahoo!, there are plenty of indictment-based recommendations. when you type it into google, [ alarm clock beeping
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weather. ♪ [ laughter ] cartoons. wait for it. [ cat screech ] [ laughter ] ♪ [ screaming ] [ laughter ] make everyday awesome with the power of xfinity x1... hi grandma! and the fastest internet. [ girl screaming ] [ laughter ]
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sharyl: more than ever, powerful interests are working every day to control information and sway public opinion. and with the internet and social media, they have infinite ways to do it. the sudden emergence of "fake news" as a hot topic is an outgrowth of those efforts. but whoever thought that sorting out fake news would be easy was mistaken. what do you define as fake news? susan glasser: well, as a term, right? it's like any term and in fact now you see partisans of both parties appropriating and using this label merely to apply it to news that they don't like. sharyl: susan glasser was editor of the left-leaning "politico" during the 2016 campaign. susan: so what started out as a panic over fake news and what role it had in undermining hillary clinton's candidacy and promoting donald trump's candidacy, by the way is now a label that donald trump master marketer has seen is a powerfu
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label so he's appropriated that and slapped that label on stories that he merely doesn't like. president trump: you are fake news. go ahead. susan: it's not that it didn't exist before, but americans used to know the difference between the "national enquirer" at the checkout counter and the "new york times." sharyl: public suspicion and allegations of bias hound the most pervasive internet players -- twitter, google, and facebook. >> google has actively been altering search recommendations in favor of -- sharyl: during the presidential campaign, critics discovered a google search for "hillary clinton indictment," typing in "ind" didn't suggest "indictment." >> when you type hillary clinton ind into bing or yahoo!, there are plenty of indictment-based recommendations. when you type it into google, the top two recommended autocompletions are hillary clinton indiana and hillary clinton india. sharyl: as it happens, google's parent company, alphabet, was a top clinton donor. its chief executive worked on the clinton campaign. last year, former facebook insiders alleged they "r
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suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers." we hear from a lot of people that they don't trust "politico" or facebook or google or whoever it might be that's trying to sort through the truth or the facts. susan: we're looking at a crisis of faith in institutions. the media, being one set of institutions that is under assault. more broadly, political parties you know, no longer have the trust and the faith. sharyl: torba claims twitter censors conservatives, but not liberals for similar behavior. on gab, anything goes, he says, as long as it's legal, not inciting violence, and not exposing information like credit cards. mr. torba: what we're doing is instead of us playing big brother and, you know, curating content and deciding what is news and what isn't and what people should see and what they shouldn't, we are giving the power to you as a user, so you can mute different words, trends, hashtags, phrases, topics, and users.
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sharyl: because of gab's anti-censorship policy, it's attracted plenty of detestable users. some blogs call it twitter for racists and the alt-right's very own twitter. mr. torba: the media likes to label us as alt-right or they've said, you know, nazi twitter or the twitter for racists. i find it, you know, really funny because we have one of the most diverse starting teams of all time. so we have my cofounder who is a turkish kurd and he's also muslim. we have our chief communications officer who is based in canada, who is an indian and a practicing hindu. sharyl: if there's ultimate truth in the debate over manipulation of information, it may be found in asking not "what can you believe," but "who wants you to believe it, and why?" do you favor censoring information that someone has decided is untrue or may blatantly be untrue so that the public can't access it online? susan: i don't. i think that would be a terrible mistake. we have to find a way for truth to regain its value in our
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public discourse, i think, and that's not about stopping people from what is untrue. it's about finding ways to reinvigorate the conversation around which is true and to find out that which those are powerful don't want us to know. sharyl: what would your advice be to somebody who's taking part, either in social media or looking for information on the web? mr. brown: my advice would be not to believe any of it. take it all with a grain of salt. sharyl: representatives from google, facebook, and twitter declined our interview requests. if this interests you, these are some of the topics i take on in my new book coming out in june. "the smear: how fake news and shady political operatives control what you see, what you think and, how you vote." next on "full measure." restoring law and order, it was a campaign promise by candidate trump. but how have local police tactics changed with officers under attack by both domestic terrorists and the media? comm. kevin davis: we have been policing in a way over the past you know, ten, twenty-plus years
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that has really upset the community, and it's really driven a big gap between the police department and the community. heather macdonald: cops are backing off of proactive policing in high crime areas and, as a result, violent crime is rising at a dramatic rate.
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sharyl: conflicts between communities and police have erupted into riots in recent years, prompting headlines and intervention from the federal government. it's changed the way police go about their business. but if the duty of the police is to protect and to serve is the change making us safer? given some of the numbers, that answer may be no. according to a report from the fbi, violent crime is up significantly last year over 2015, up in all cities by over 6% in one year alone. president trump has promised a new law and order. our joce sterman takes a look at the new policing in america. joce: ferguson, missouri.
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in the summer of 2014, riots erupted after the shooting of michael brown by a police officer. it also triggered a vigorous and sometimes violent debate over the relationship between police and minorities. in april of 2015, baltimore erupted in riots after the death of a black suspect in police custody. the death of freddie gray unleashed weeks of fury. comm. kevin davis: it's one person at a time, one day at a time. joce: kevin davis is baltimore's police commissioner. he was promoted to the job in 2015, after the riots and immediately faced calls for a change in police tactics. comm. davis: there's never going to be a final chapter to all this, you know. we're never going to reach that point where 100% of the population loves the police. joce: in baltimore, changing tactics wasn't completely a matter of choice. the city and department of justice agreed to sweeping
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police reforms to stop overly aggressive tactics and restore trust in city cops. comm. davis: we've been policing in a way over the past you know, ten, twenty-plus years that has really upset the community, and it's really driven a big gap between the police department and the community. joce: gone now are strategies like "stop and frisk" and "zero tolerance" policing. the doj claims those and other tactics have created problems in two dozen cities. comm. davis: any community, no matter where you are, wants its police department to lock up bad guys. murderers, rapists, robbers, burglars, thieves, arsonists. there's really no question about that, but when it comes to some of the discretionary enforcement efforts that our profession has engaged in all too often, that i think we're making our way away from, its those discretionary enforcement efforts and initiatives, particularly in
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in african-american and underserved communities that have really upset entire communities. heather macdonald: cops are backing off of proactive policing in high crime areas, and as a result, violent crime is rising at a dramatic rate. joce: heather macdonald, author of the book "the war on cops," says police can't afford to back off too much. heather: after the riots in baltimore, the freddie gray riots, drug enforcement just ended in baltimore and shootings went through the roof. recently, a pew poll came out of officers, 72% said that they less likely now to make pedestrian stops, to engage in proactive policing. arrests are down in los angeles, they're certainly down in new york. joce: there are consequences. in 2015, fbi stats show the biggest jump in homicides in years.
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twenty-five of america's largest cities up drastically. one of them, chicago, has become a murder capital. the city had more than 750 homicides last year and arrests were down. heather: that is a very, very bad sign because the law-abiding residents of high crime areas beg the police for public order enforcement. but when the elites, when the mainstream media, when the white house is sending the message that that type of policing is racist, we shouldn't be surprised when cops back off. and when they do, again, it's minority lives that suffer. mr. trump: law and order must be restored. joce: then-candidate trump called for change. with jeff sessions as attorney general, many see a "police first" mentality likely to return to the department of justice.
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pres. trump: more law enforcement, more community engagement, more effective policing is what our country needs desperately. joce: but at the local level, words matter. >> i need help. comm. davis: we're here to help you. joce: leaders like davis talk about the danger of phrases like "law and order" that can be taken as a threat. like we're going to come in here and crack skulls? comm. davis: yep. joce: so does that hurt you when that is said, "we're a 'law and order' administration?" comm. davis: absolutely. joce: it fosters fear almost? comm. davis: fear and anxieties and i think it tells people we're willing to roll back the clock on some advancements that we have made. joce: and in baltimore, some of those advancements are measured in hearts and minds. comm. davis: i'm gonna give this to you. know what this is? it's called a challenge coin. it's yours. sharyl: what do you think we can expect under jeff sessions as the new attorney general? joce: two big changes coming out
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of this administration. under an executive order signed earlier this month the new attorney general will create a new task force coming up with different strategies to reduce crime, mainly "illegal immigration, drug trafficking, and violent crime." in comments to police chiefs, the president said it would be absolute zero tolerance when it comes to violence against police officers. he considers that a hate crime. sharyl: joce sterman, thanks a lot. still ahead on "full measure." our interviews last week with robert kennedy, jr., and robert de niro flooded our social sites with comments. we'll share some of those and
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sharyl: our interview last week with robert de niro on the issue of vaccine safety drew a big response from you on social media. are you anti-vaccine? robert de niro: no, i'm not anti-vaccine. that's a lot of baloney, a lot of malarkey. that's ridiculous. i'm not anti-vax. i take vaccines all the time. and my kids have gotten vaccinated. but there's something wrong. and it's gotta be fixed. sharyl: paula writes, "i have two family members who suffered severe vaccine injuries and one who died after much suffering. there is definitely something wrong." but patricia says, "the number of people that seem to have trouble with vaccines is so low. these vaccines do more good than harm." last week, we also investigated allegations against a va contractor accused of cheating our vets. mike suggests, "one of trump's executive orders should be to audit government contractors." coming up next time on "full measure."
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a possible health risk involving one of the most trusted products. baby powder. deane berg: i was about 16 years old. and so i just started using talcum powder at that time. sharyl: deane berg was among the millions of women who use talcum powder on their genital area for freshness. ♪ >> a spinkle a day helps keep odor away. deane: and so i just thought it was perfectly safe to use and they were marketing it quite a bit. sharyl: and how many years did this go on? deane: until i got cancer, when i was 49. sharyl: and alleged link between ovarian cancer and the talc mineral used in baby powder has been studied for decades. we take a look at whether major talc industry players ignored evidence and their own consultants' advice. or is it all a plot to file frivolous lawsuits and shake-down billion dollar corporations? that's all for this week. thanks for watching. until next week, we will be searching for more stories that hold powers accountable.
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>> thanks for watching the weekend edition of "government matters" featuring the latest topics that matter to the business of government like technology, defense, workforce, security, and industry. "government matters" is the only show exploring trends in the federal community. i'm your host, francis rose. the defense department says it's new electronic health record system the working well after its first several weeks of use in washington state. the military will expand use of the m.h.s. genesis system to three other bases in washington state in the next year. stacey cummings is the program defense

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