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Greater Egret

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Village News

I don't read the local Fallbrook newspaper anymore. The publisher is a nice person and has always been a good friend, the ex editor a great friend. It's tough to run a newspaper in these economic times. I understand that. But somehow the paper shifted to an extremely right wing editorial stance when it became affiliated with the Epoch Times. Not exactly sure what the relationship is but I believe that they are a financial backer of some kind.

I can't hang with it anymore, especially when the Epoch company is tied to so much agitprop and propaganda. Almost makes Fox News look fair and balanced. And they are engaged in a flat out national disinformation campaign. Among other things the Epoch people have floated a Q-anon claim that Trump is leading a secret effort to uncover a global pedophile ring that includes many top Democrats, media figures and other members of the "Deep State."

I read the Village News to find out about garage sales and obituaries, not to get reprogrammed with far right lies and propaganda.

The Epoch Times was founded in 2000 by John Tang and other Chinese Americans connected to the Falun Gong church. It has been very supportive of Trump and far right leaders in Europe. It has a generally negative stance on abortion and lgbt issues. It has worked hand in hand with the Trump administration spreading Spygate and Q-anon disinformation. Fiercely anti Beijing, not that there is anything wrong with that.

Facebook banned the Epoch Times from advertising in August of this year for using fake "sockpuppet" proxies to disguise authorship and get around its review policies. Now word that Facebook has taken down down more than 600 accounts tied to the pro-Trump conspiracy website for using identities created by artificial intelligence to push stories about a variety of topics including impeachment and elections. 

The New York Times has a good article yesterday exposing the deception. An arms reach subsidiary of Epoch called B.L. was the perpetrator. Machine generated artificial intelligence using fake photos to create false identities to influence social media.

Facebook said that it removed 610 accounts, 89 Facebook pages, 156 groups, and 72 Instagram accounts that were connected to the organization. Around 55 million accounts followed one of these Facebook pages and 92,000 followed at least one of the Instagram accounts. The organization spent nearly $9.5 million in advertisements, according to Facebook.

Twitter has followed suit. Twitter and Facebook have shut down a network of fake accounts that pushed pro-Trump messages all while “masquerading” as Americans with AI-generated faces as profile photos.

It is pretty sad. You go to bed with dogs you wake up with fleas, Julie. You do what you have to do to survive but I think that your paper has now lost all credibility in our community. Small community newspapers work better when they are ideologically neutral.  Cut the cord with these people if you still can.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

I like Fàllbrook news don’t see the conspiracy as much as cnn and ny times. Besides has good local articles on Fallbrook town

Blue Heron said...

Fine, in the future please sign your post.

Hudgins said...

A bit unusual to see a "grave" (à) accent mark on the letter a in the name Fallbrook. Not a normal key on any US based keyboard. Grammar is a bit odd as well.

Julie Reeder said...

Robert, I like you as well and respect you. Much of what you are basing this on is simply not true.
I will research all of it, even though time is short.
"Facebook said that it removed 610 accounts, 89 Facebook pages, 156 groups, and 72 Instagram accounts that were connected to the organization."
The organization that is credited with this is not the Epoch Times. They are not affiliated with B.L. in any way. It was started by former employees of Epoch. It would be like crediting Village News with owning or being responsible for what former writers are presently doing. They also have no affiliation with QAnon. And you have to ask yourself "Hmmm...Why would NBC and others who have lost marketshare do hit pieces on the fastest growing paper right now?

Blue Heron said...

Appreciate your response Julie. B.L. is a subsidiary of Epoch Times, Vietnam. Looks like a total shell game to me. Look into it.

Blue Heron said...

Interesting Hudgins, you may be on to something.

Anonymous said...

Fallbrook has moved much more toward the center since the times of Tom Metzger.

Kerr A. Lott said...


Big Brother Trump has made that sort of propaganda totally acceptable. Normal. Orwell would be appalled.

To create a grave accent mark on an an Apple Mac press the keyboard letter you want to accent and keep your finger on the key - a menu will pop up that gives you 7 choices of accent marks including the grave ( è ).


Sardonicus said...

Agree with your assessment of Epoch Times.

However, the New York Times is a greater threat to honest journalism as it has a broader audience to lie to with it's fabrications. See the smear campaign of out-and-out lies against Tulsi Gabbard as an example. ( https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/the-new-york-times-smears-tulsi-gabbard-as-an-alt-right-russian-stooge ).

As for Fallbrook politics, long-time residents know that aside from the town’s well documented association with the Klan and Aryan Nation movements, the John Birch Society, that Fallbrook”s “Rusty’s Ammo Room” has also been cited as the birthplace of the Tea Party movement.

I quote Stephen Glain’s February 18, 2016 blog on old fallbrook:

“Whenever we'd stop for supplies at Pine Tree Lumber, the only lumber yard within a fifty-mile radius, we'd invariably run into one or two of Dad's subs. They were a thoughtful but hard-boiled lot. Conversations typically began with trade talk: home prices, interest rates, zoning ordinances. Then, like a Soviet submarine surfacing in local waters, the matter of California's fickle building code would emerge. That, in turn, queued heated appraisals of The Damned Government, a generic reference to the Fed's long arm as well as the more immediate clutch of state and municipal authorities.
Pine Tree Lumber was only one of several forums where such topics were aired. Another was Rusty's Ammo Room, a dimly lit diner where conspiracy theories were served up, tossed back and swallowed whole like short beers. One could argue that my home town was the Bethlehem of the current Tea Party Movement.”

(http://www.sglain.com/blog)



Anonymous said...

"...a Facebook spokesperson told the Journal that executives of The BL were active administrators on pages controlled by the Epoch Media Group as of Friday morning before the accounts were taken down."

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/facebook-global-fake-accounts-pro-trump_n_5dfd6cfae4b0843d35fc367c

The Phantom Knows said...

Robert, I think you’re on to something. I’ll get Jim Comey and the FISA court to look into this shenanigan as soon as I get off the e-mail chain with Hillary.

Anonymous said...

From nbc:

Despite its growing reach and power, little is publicly known about the precise ownership, origins or influences of The Epoch Times.

The outlet’s opacity makes it difficult to determine an overall structure, but it is loosely organized into several regional tax-free nonprofits. The Epoch Times operates alongside the video production company, NTD, under the umbrella of The Epoch Media Group, a private news and entertainment company whose owner executives have declined to name, citing concerns of "pressure" that could follow.

https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/trump-qanon-impending-judgment-day-behind-facebook-fueled-rise-epoch-n1044121

Blue Heron said...

I personally don't need the Fallbrook history lesson, Sardonicus. I served on a board with Rusty and he was an absolute buffoon. I knew Tom pretty well too and was present on several occasions when the KKK had their Sunday meeting at the Fallbrook cafe. Was amazing to see how many of my fellow citizens contributed to Metzger's campaign coffers when he ran for office.

Debbie Ramsey said...

Sardonicus,
Your “remembrances” are indicative of someone who thinks they know Fallbrook history but really don’t. Rusty’s Ammo Room a diner? Home of the Tea Party? Um. No. Give me a break.
I grew up in the neighborhood where both Tom and Rusty raised their families. I wasn’t friends with either but I know of their actions and behaviors enough to know their reach locally was not as expansive as you like to report. Why do people try and make more out of this than there was?
Don’t be stupid. Stop spreading propaganda.

Blue Heron said...

I think you are right, Debbie. Metzger kept it pretty low key in Fallbrook. I thought it was funny but I saw Tom fraternize with both blacks and hispanics. Personally, after following him out of the post office several times where he was hoisting envelopes of what I presume was money,I think that a lot of it was about making money for him. We actually had some interesting conversations,, like the day he wore the crossed out Mexican flag sandwich board up and down Main Avenue.

Sardonicus said...

in my defense Debbie, i didn’t say the Ammo Room was a diner. That was Mr. Glain’s reference, not that calling it a diner rather than a pizza joint doesn’t change the politics of the place. When it comes to Fallbrook history I’ll stand on my experience. My family homesteaded here in1903 and 5 generations have called it home. I’ve been here since 1954 and when i was growing up in a pre-sheriff station Fallbrook, Rusty’s Raiders were the self-appointed vigilante group patrolling the township nights like a gang of thugs preying on those they didn’t like the looks of. Hippies or hispanics, beatings were common.

In terms of Metzger being ‘low key” i have personally seen the flyers Metzger used to staple to downtown telephone poles around May Ellis school every week in pre-traffic light Fallbrook – like the anti-Semitic “Jew-fly” postings of the early 70s warning the populous the Med-fly infestation of the time should have been the least of their worries. Then there was the toll-free KKK hotline that gave a weekly updated hate messages. In my travels, Fallbrook has been better known for its racism tan its avocados.

I know the underbelly of this burg. i saw the downtown halloween riots of “72 and “73. The dynamitings of bridges in the 60s. The drug culture. Making more than it was? These things were all documented in the old Fallbrook Enterprise. Propaganda? No, truth with a paper trail. Not only that, I was there. I don’t recall seeing you. Robert, I'm not here giving lessons, but i've known you since before you came to Fallbrook (or Rainbow), so i know your personal experience here is post-70s.

As for the Epoch Times, it only makes sense they would target this community.

Blue Heron said...

Well, we definitely seem to be acquainted Sardonicus. I don't remember jewfly postings, but I do remember some anti black posters stapled to telephone poles. In any case I believe Debbie is correct at least in at least my short forty year tenure, the KKK thing was never near a plurality for the community, instead a fractional anomaly, and always an embarrassment.

I have had two overt racist incidents in all of my time here, in the first a shopkeeper suggested that jews who entered his shop would be gassed, the second was a well known doctor in the community who I had never before met who went after me in earshot of a lot of people including Bob Leonard at a ministerial breakfast. I always felt more threatened by the latter incident, the country club racists being more pernicious and vile than your standard dumb redneck.

Julie Reeder said...

https://www.theepochtimes.com/facebook-smears-epoch-media-group-with-false-claim-of-linkage-to-the-bl_3183172.html

Julie Reeder said...

I'm just amazed at how there is so much misinformation being propagated by the national news media and honestly its bullying. Just like Hillary accusing the woman running against her of be in ng a Russian spy, then she pays for a fake dossier (opposition research) and $35M of our tax dollars are spent to try and find something on her political opposition Trump, then she even alludes to Tulsi Gabbard being a Russian asset. Its unbelievable. All conspiracy theories. Then Epoch Times starts doing some real journalism instead of just DNC talking points (I used to get them too) and more conspiracy theories and bullying. Now what theyve been reporting is all being brought to light and next there will be new impeachment/PR against Trump and anyone they dont agree with. The world didnt know about China harvesting body parts from people until the Epoch Times reported on it. Their journalists face beatings and real persecution. They are making the others look bad. https://www.theepochtimes.com/facebook-smears-epoch-media-group-with-false-claim-of-linkage-to-the-bl_3183172.html

Blue Heron said...

Thanks for the link Julie. Read the entire Snopes article, very instructive.

"The assertion that “The BL has no connection with The Epoch Times” strains credulity for several reasons."

https://www.snopes.com/news/2019/10/11/pro-trump-outlet-linked-epoch-times/

I don't want you to think I have an axe to grind, I don't. We all believe what we want to believe even when confronted with the same evidence. People can make their own judgments.

Julie Reeder said...

"Target this community"? Honestly, more conspiracy theories. I contacted them, just as I contacted AP, just like I contacted LA Times 20 years ago and have provided that for our subscribers as a value added for 20 years. You all have the right to pick and choose what you read.

Hudgins said...

I see the rabbit hole has opened right here in Fallbrook and bless their little hearts the local rag is righteously leading the parade down into the realm of the political surreal. Now isn't that just peachy?

Blue Heron said...

Chemtrails, Pizzagate, space aliens among us, I guess we all get to pick our dance partners...https://newrepublic.com/article/155076/obscure-newspaper-fueling-far-right-europe

latelori said...

Julie Reader--You seem to appear to not only have swilled down the Kool Aide, but be completely unfamiliar with punctuation (very odd for the editor of a newspaper).
"Now what theyve been reporting is all being brought to light and next there will be new impeachment/PR against Trump and anyone they dont agree with. The world didnt know about China harvesting body parts from people until the Epoch Times reported on it."
Three missing apostrophes within just these two sentences, not to mention some other grammatical issues (I didn't include the rest of your paragraph).

Also, too, I don't believe that Hillary Clinton & Tulsi Gabbard have ever run against one another in an election. I believe you are adopting the behavior of Trump & other Republicans--lying, projection & being the victim.