The Facebook Files: A Wall Street Journal Investigation

Jeff Horwitz, Georgia Wells, Deepa Seetharaman, Keach Hagey, Justin Scheck, Newley Purnell, Sam Schechner, Emily Glazer, Wall Street Journal Staff, Stephanie Stamm, John West, The Facebook Files: A Wall Street Journal Investigation. The Wall Street Journal, a series of articles beginning on Monday, 13 September 2021. “Facebook Inc. knows, in acute detail, that its platforms are riddled with flaws that cause harm, often in ways only the company fully understands. That is the central finding of a Wall Street Journal series, based on a review of internal Facebook documents, including research reports, online employee discussions, and drafts of presentations to senior management. Time and again, the documents show, Facebook’s researchers have identified the platform’s ill effects. Time and again, despite congressional hearings, its own pledges, and numerous media exposés, the company didn’t fix them. The documents offer perhaps the clearest picture thus far of how broadly Facebook’s problems are known inside the company, up to the chief executive himself.”

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The Power of Investigative Journalism

Erin Overbey, The Power of Investigative Journalism, The New Yorker, Sunday, 25 August 2019. “On January 11, 1994, a fax arrived at the United Nations warning of an impending massacre in Rwanda. The message was sent by Major General Roméo Dallaire, the U.N. force commander in the country, to the U.N.’s headquarters, in New York. In ‘The Genocide Fax,’ Philip Gourevitch reports the intricate tale of how this warning went unheeded and, three months later, members of the Hutu majority killed at least eight hundred thousand people from the Tutsi minority. In 1995, Gourevitch travelled to Rwanda to examine the aftermath of the genocide and to offer a detailed account of the horrors there. As he traces the origins of the fax, Gourevitch unravels the layers of bureaucracy surrounding the plight of the Rwandans. His piece, like all good investigative reporting, offers an incisive portrait of the miscalculations and blunders that ultimately led to such disastrous consequences. This week, we’re bringing you this report and other highlights from The New Yorker’s long history of investigative journalism. In ‘Silent Spring,’ Rachel Carson offers a groundbreaking examination of the environmental impact of DDT and other pesticides. Seymour M. Hersh reports on the My Lai massacre, in Vietnam, in 1972, and Jane Mayer explores how, during the George W. Bush Administration, an internal effort to ban the torture of detainees at Guantánamo Bay was thwarted. In ‘Unholy Acts,’ which was published nearly a decade before the Boston Globe ran its Spotlight series on the Catholic Church abuse scandal, Paul Wilkes writes about the Church’s failure to confront hundreds of cases of sexual misconduct with children. In ‘Abuses of Power,’ Ronan Farrow shares the harrowing allegations by multiple women of their abuse and harassment by Harvey Weinstein, one of the most powerful executives in Hollywood. Susan Sheehan investigates the case of a schizophrenic patient at the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, in Queens Village, New York, in 1981, and Ed Caesar chronicles a ten-billion-dollar Russian money-laundering scheme at Deutsche Bank. In ‘Casualties of War,’ Daniel Lang reports on the rape and murder of a village girl by American soldiers during the Vietnam War. Finally, in ‘The Apostate,’ Lawrence Wright examines the history of the Church of Scientology and describes the director Paul Haggis’s efforts to leave the Church. At a time of global uncertainty, these stories are a bracing reminder of the power of investigative reporting.”

The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S.

Eric Lipton, David E. Sanger and Scott Shane, The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S. The New York Times, 13 December 2016. “An examination by The Times of the Russian [cyberespionage and information-warfare] operation — based on interviews with dozens of players targeted in the attack, intelligence officials who investigated it and Obama administration officials who deliberated over the best response — reveals a series of missed signals, slow responses and a continuing underestimation of the seriousness of the cyberattack.”

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Hyperpartisan Facebook Pages Are Publishing False And Misleading Information At An Alarming Rate

Craig Silverman, Lauren Strapagiel, Hamza Shaban, Ellie Hall, Jeremy Singer-Vine, Hyperpartisan Facebook Pages Are Publishing False And Misleading Information At An Alarming Rate. BuzzFeed News, 20 October 2016. “Hyperpartisan political Facebook pages and websites are consistently feeding their millions of followers false or misleading information, according to an analysis by BuzzFeed News. The review of more than 1,000 posts from six large hyperpartisan Facebook pages selected from the right and from the left also found that the least accurate pages generated some of the highest numbers of shares, reactions, and comments on Facebook — far more than the three large mainstream political news pages analyzed for comparison.”

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How Elizabeth Holmes’s House of Cards [Theranos] Came Tumbling Down

Nick Bilton, How Elizabeth Holmes’s House of Cards Came Tumbling Down. Vanity Fair, 6 September 2016. “In a searing investigation into the once lauded biotech start-up Theranos, Nick Bilton discovers that its precocious founder defied medical experts–even her own chief scientist–about the veracity of its now discredited blood-testing technology. She built a corporation based on secrecy in the hope that she could still pull it off. Then, it all fell apart.”

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How Fox News Women Took Down Roger Ailes

Gabriel Sherman, How Fox News Women Took Down Roger Ailes. New York Magazine, 2 September 2016. “It took 15 days to end the mighty 20-year reign of Roger Ailes at Fox News, one of the most storied runs in media and political history. Ailes built not just a conservative cable news channel but something like a fourth branch of government; a propaganda arm for the GOP; an organization that determined Republican presidential candidates, sold wars, and decided the issues of the day for 2 million viewers. That the place turned out to be rife with grotesque abuses of power has left even its liberal critics stunned. More than two dozen women have come forward to accuse Ailes of sexual harassment, and what they have exposed is both a culture of misogyny and one of corruption and surveillance, smear campaigns and hush money, with implications reaching far wider than one disturbed man at the top.”

Update: Sarah Ellison, Fox Settles With Gretchen Carlson for $20 Million–and Offers an Unprecedented Apology. Vanity Fair, 6 September 2016.

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How to Cover the One Percent

Michael Massing, How to Cover the One Percent. The New York Review of Books, 14 January 2016. “As the concentration of wealth in America has grown, so has the scale of philanthropy. Today, that activity is one of the principal ways in which the superrich not only “give back” but also exert influence, yet it has not received the attention it deserves. As I have previously tried to show, digital technology offers journalists new ways to cover the world of money and power in America,1 and that’s especially true when it comes to philanthropy.” This is the second of two articles. The first is Reimagining Journalism: The Story of the One Percent, published in The New York Review of Books on 17 December 2015.

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Reimagining Journalism: The Story of the One Percent

Michael Massing, Reimagining Journalism: The Story of the One Percent. The New York Review of Books, 17 December 2015. “Inequality, the concentration of wealth, the one percent, the new Gilded Age—all became fixtures of national debate thanks in part to the [Occupy Wall Street] protesters who camped out in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan [in 2011]. Even the Republican presidential candidates have felt compelled to address the matter [in 2015 and 2016]. News organizations, meanwhile, have produced regular reports on the fortunes of the wealthy, the struggles of the middle class, and the travails of those left behind. Even amid the outpouring of coverage of rising income inequality, however, the richest Americans have remained largely hidden from view.” This is the first of two articles. The second is How to Cover the One Percent, published in The New York Review of Books on 14 January 2016.

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PBS Self-Destructs

Eugenia Williamson, PBS Self-Destructs. Harper’s, October 2014. (Subscription only, but non-subscribers can read one article per month as guests.) “Last October, I watched as a passel of activists convened in front of WGBH, Boston’s public-television station. There were about three dozen of them on the concrete forecourt…. WGBH employees, as well as cameramen and reporters on hand to cover the protest, weaved through the crowd. The grassroots climate-change group Forecast the Facts had organized the rally as an attempt to expel David Koch from the station’s board of trustees. The members had collected and printed out 120,000 digital signatures and placed them in boxes, which they planned to present at that afternoon’s board meeting. ”

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