No TrumpsπŸ‘±‍♂️ Newsbites
Trump's first tweet about a 'Chinese virus' caused an increase of anti-Asian hashtags on Twitter, study finds
  • Anti-Asian sentiment on Twitter spiked after Trump used the term "Chinese virus" on March 16, 2020.
  • UC San Francisco researchers analyzed posts from the week before and after Trump's tweet.
  • Asians in America have been targeted seemingly because the coronavirus was first found in China.
At the time, Trump defended his use of the term. "Because it comes from China. It's not racist at all," he told a reporter on March 18, referring to the fact that the novel coronavirus was first found in Wuhan, China.

The use of terms like "Chinese virus" and "kung flu," which Trump publicly said at a rally in June, have come alongside a rise in racist sentiment toward Asians in the US.

An Ipsos survey conducted in late April found that more than 30% of Americans had witnessed someone blaming people of Asian descent for the coronavirus pandemic.
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Fox News host falsely tells Trump a top Biden Cabinet official just resigned, only to correct the record after he called it a 'big victory'
  • A Fox News host erroneously said on-air that DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas had resigned.
  • Harris Faulkner broke the news to former President Donald Trump on a call-in interview Monday.
  • Trump called the non-development a "big victory," prompting Faulkner to correct the record.
During a call-in interview with former President Donald Trump on Monday, Fox News host Harris Faulkner falsely reported that Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas had just resigned.

"I want to double check this with our producers," Faulkner said with Trump on the line. "Um, the DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has resigned, Mr. President."

"Well, I'm not surprised," Trump replied. "Good. That's a big victory for our country."

As the former president reveled in the non-development, Faulkner pressed her finger to her earpiece and interjected.

"Hold on, let me, let me stop, let me stop. Let me listen to my team one more time, forgive me," Faulkner said. "Forgive me, that has not happened, and I apologize."

Faulkner was asking Trump about the unfolding situation involving thousands of unaccompanied migrant children at the US-Mexico border.

Mayorkas has blamed the Trump administration for causing the problem, particularly for dismantling the program that children used to apply for asylum from their home countries.

... It's unclear where Faulkner heard that Mayorkas had just resigned, and whether Fox News was reporting on the matter or if it was the result of crosstalk.
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Trump didn't include Mike Pence in his list of 'very good' Republicans and possible 2024 presidential candidates
  • Donald Trump didn't include Mike Pence in his list of "very good" GOP leaders and potential 2024 presidential candidates.
  • Trump named Ron DeSantis, Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Kristi Noem.
  • Pence is reportedly considering a 2024 presidential bid if Trump decides not to run.
Trump said he'll make his decision on whether or not to run for reelection "later."
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Republican Party officials made a mysterious $36,000 payment last month to private investigators who advertise their use of surveillance drones and hidden cameras
  • The GOP's campaign arm paid $36,000 to a surveillance company in February.
  • The details aren't clear, but political operatives say the disclosure is unusual.
  • The Michigan-based company appears to use drones and secret cameras in its surveillance.
The Republican National Committee paid more than $36,000 in February to a Michigan company that specializes in high-tech surveillance and private investigations, according to the RNC's most recent campaign finance disclosure.

The GOP's campaign arm paid Cross Xamine Investigations Inc. for "legal and compliance services" on February 10, the records show. Cross Xamine Investigations Inc. bills itself as a "national private investigations firm that specializes in insurance defense, domestic investigations and a number of other supporting services."

It's unusual for a party committee to hire private investigators, and it's even more unusual for a party committee to explicitly report that they've done so in campaign finance reports, according to Republican and Democratic operatives interviewed by Insider.

... It doesn't appear that any federal political committee has ever before hired Cross Xamine Investigation, according to an Insider review of campaign finance data.

Although the payment was made on February 10, it's not clear when the surveillance company provided services to the RNC. Federal regulations allow political committees to use broad language when describing the nature of their expenditures.

... A Cross Xamine Investigations promotional video includes images of surveillance drones and video cameras, as well as eyeglasses that appear to have a camera embedded in them. The equipment amounts to "some pretty nasty stuff from a privacy standpoint," said Democratic researcher who watched the video.

That person and other party strategists spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't at liberty to discuss party tactics.

Cross Xamine Investigations also advertises its divorce and infidelity investigations and "undercover" services that permit the company "to get inside a civil or criminal apparatus and stay there long enough to find out how it works and who the players are." Its unmanned camera surveillance service "provides stationary HD video documentation 24 hours a day for up to 7 consecutive days."

The RNC's payment to a private investigations firm is "far from common — very, very rare," said another longtime Democratic operative familiar with opposition research.

... The RNC has also paid the investigations and security firm Pinkerton about $83,000 since 2016, according to campaign finance disclosures. That company, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, offers services such as background checks, security, and response to "political risks," according to its website.

Pinkerton has provided security services to the RNC in recent years, according to the disclosures.
The RNC and Pinkerton did not respond to Insider's requests for additional details about what services were provided.
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Facebook says it removed more than 1.3 billion fake accounts in the months surrounding the 2020 election (FB)
  • Facebook says it removed more than 1.3 billion fake accounts in the last three months of 2020.
  • This period included heightened activity about the 2020 election.
  • Facebook's CEO is set to testify about the platform's role leading up to the Capitol siege.
Facebook vice president Guy Rosen shared the numbers in an opinion post for Morning Consult, later republished as a blog post on Facebook's corporate website. In the post, Rosen revealed that Facebook had taken down more than 12 million pieces of content about COVID-19 and vaccines since the pandemic started more than a year ago.

Facebook also has more than 35,000 people working on stopping the spread of misinformation and fake news, he said.

The company released this information a few days before House lawmakers are expected to grill Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at a committee hearing. The hearing is intended to address misinformation on social media, particularly the spread of false information related to COVID-19 and the US presidential election this past year. Many critics accuse Facebook of being a driving force behind the growth of dangerous conspiracy theories like QAnon.

Although platforms like Facebook and Twitter have had to face off with the spread of "fake news" since their inception, the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus since late 2019 has triggered a particularly massive spike in online misinformation with potentially dangerous consequences. Posts on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in 2020 have made false claims about COVID-19's origins and spread; shared baseless conspiracy theories about the pandemic being a hoax and COVID-19 vaccines getting funded by Bill Gates; and made profits off selling faulty COVID-19 tests and treatments.

Further, the pandemic and the lead-up to the 2020 US presidential election compounded to create an atmosphere where online misinformation broke out visibly and dangerously in real life. Protesters railing against states' lockdown measures in April primarily organized on Facebook Groups. Trump and his supporters used social media to spread false claims that the election was stolen and to cast doubt on Joe Biden's victory. These hoaxes culminated in a deadly riot at the US Capitol on January 6.

Questions around Facebook's involvement in the riots is expected to dominate Thursday's proceedings.

... Thursday's hearing — where Zuckerberg will testify alongside Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Google CEO Sundar Pichai — will be the first time that tech CEOs have appeared in front of US lawmakers since the Capitol siege.

Facebook has made a concerted effort to beef up its misinformation-fighting initiatives since the 2016 presidential election. Zuckerberg has since admitted the company didn't do enough to prevent the spread of fake news and hate speech ahead of the election four years ago.
Read the full article: Facebook says it removed more than 1.3 billion fake accounts in the months surrounding the 2020 election (FB)

or Trump-ism

Trumpism refers to the nontraditional political philosophy and approach espoused by Donald Trump and his supporters. The term Trumpism can also be used to directly refer to an outrageous or idiosyncratic statement made by Donald Trump.

Trump, whom many observers consider an anomaly, left the White House by saying, “We will be back in some form.” His legacy is “Trumpism” – a wave of white nationalism.

Trumpisms are Bushisms on steroids.