Improper Data Manipulation Fueling Fake News

Data Manipulation

Exploring Data Manipulation: Truths and Deceptions

Sept 25, 2023

The Rise of Fake News: How Data Manipulation Fuels Disinformation

In today’s digital age, spreading disinformation through fake news has become a growing concern. With the rise of social media and online information, it is easier than ever to manipulate data and spread false narratives to large audiences. At the core of the fake news epidemic is the improper use of data to mislead rather than inform.

The data is compelling. When used correctly, data can uncover valuable insights and truths. However, data can also be misrepresented or skewed to promote particular agendas. Data manipulation is a common tactic used by creators of fake news and disinformation campaigns. By cherry-picking statistics, taking information out of context, or outright fabricating numbers, data can be twisted to fit any narrative.

There are several ways bad actors can manipulate data to fuel fake news. One method is selectively reporting statistics that support their viewpoint while ignoring contradicting information. For example, someone is arguing that rising crime rates may cause increases in certain cities while ignoring the nationwide trend of declining crime. They cherry-pick the data that matches their narrative.

Another technique is making false correlations between two unrelated data points. Spurious correlations between two data sets can be drawn, but that does not mean they have a legitimate causal relationship. For instance, a fake news graphic might plot increasing autism rates alongside the growth in organic food sales. However, this correlation does not mean organic food causes autism. In reality, both are rising due to other unrelated factors.

Outright fabrication or alteration of statistics also spreads disinformation. Numbers can be made entirely up or graphs doctored to exhibit fabricated trends. Photos and videos can also be edited or staged to depict false events. Deepfake technology even allows for the creation of fake images and videos that look real.

These manipulated data points are used as “evidence” to legitimize fake news stories. False statistics are included in articles or spread through social media posts to make disinformation seem factual. But even compelling data can be deceiving when improperly presented.

Data Manipulation in Finance and Economics

The finance and economics spheres are prime targets for data manipulation to push specific monetary agendas or perspectives. Statistics related to the economy, unemployment, inflation, and other fiscal factors can be misconstrued.

For example, the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report is a crucial indicator of US economic health. The unemployment rate is highly influential, impacting fiscal policy and swaying public opinion. However, this percentage can be misleading. The unemployment rate only accounts for people actively looking for jobs, not those who have given up searching. So, the actual joblessness rate is likely higher.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation, is another statistic that can be manipulated. The methodology for calculating CPI has changed over time, including switches to geometric weighting and substitutions for certain goods. These changes have resulted in lower CPI values, helping the government downplay the true inflation rate.

Financial markets also present opportunities for data manipulation. Companies may exploit grey areas in accounting rules to misrepresent earnings, assets, or other figures to appear more profitable. Insider trading based on non-public data also engenders an unfair advantage.

Cherry-picking, falsification, and misrepresenting economic and financial data can have serious repercussions. Inaccurate statistics impact fiscal policies, markets, investments, and public opinion. Maintaining data integrity is essential.

Data Manipulation in Politics and Public Policy

The political sphere is rife with instances of data manipulation used to shape public discourse and influence policy. Politicians often spin facts and figures to boost their agendas or discredit opponents.

A common tactic is citing biased or flawed polls and surveys that support their position. Leading questions and limited sampling are ways to produce favoured results. Polls can also be selectively filtered to highlight agreeable responses and downplay dissenting ones.

Politicians may also repeat dubious statistics until perceived as truth through mere repetition. For instance, exaggerating the prevalence of certain crimes can stoke public fears to justify tougher policies. Figures related to costs, benefits, or potential legislation impacts can be contorted to argue for or against the policy.

Demographic data can also be manipulated in politics through practices like gerrymandering. Electoral district maps are redrawn to dilute the voting power of certain groups and bolster that of others. Both major US parties have been accused of such gerrymandering, which skews representation.

Misusing and misrepresenting data allows political agendas to gain traction. But it also fosters distrust and polarization when the public perceives statistics as malleable to fit any narrative. Transparency in data collection and methodology is essential to maintaining integrity.

Data Manipulation in Science and Medicine

The legitimacy of scientific research rests on accurate data. However, the pressure to publish and obtain funding can incentivize less-than-ethical data practices. While outright fraud is rare, more subtle manipulation does occur in science.

Cherry-picking favourable results and omitting negative ones is one way researchers introduce bias. Running multiple variants of an experiment but only publicizing positive outcomes can lend undue credence. And statistical significance is sometimes misrepresented through practices like p-hacking.

Researchers may manipulate how data is analyzed to achieve more significant p-values that imply more substantial evidence. However, low p-values can arise by chance through multiple iterations. So, such findings may be statistical artefacts rather than real effects.

Some researchers also craft hypotheses to fit pre-existing data sets. This process generates ideas that have not been properly tested and validated. And studies can be designed in ways that support expected outcomes, undermining objectivity.

In medicine, pharmaceutical companies fund extensive drug research, creating potential conflicts of interest for scientists. Company-sponsored studies are more likely to report favourable drug efficacy and safety outcomes. Trials with unfavourable results often go unpublished.

Doctors can also be improperly induced to prescribe certain drugs. Pharma reps exaggerate benefits and downplay risks. And paid speaking engagements, gifts, and other incentives sway physicians to favour certain medications.

Such data manipulation in science and medicine damages public trust. It also leads to ineffective or even harmful treatments as interventions’ actual safety and efficacy become obscured. Upholding rigorous research standards is essential.

Data Manipulation in Journalism and Social Media

Media outlets and social networks have enabled the rapid spread of disinformation. Lax oversight on verifying sources and facts has allowed data manipulation to increase.

News organizations often source statistics from special interest groups or think tanks with inherent biases. But they may present the figures as impartial without proper vetting. Or they may extrapolate insupportable conclusions that overstate research findings.

Also, stories focusing on outliers or rare events can stoke disproportionate fears. For instance, a few violent crimes by immigrants may be publicized to imply high crime rates overall among immigrants. In reality, immigrants have lower criminality than native-born citizens. But such stories can manipulate public sentiment.

On social media, fabricated images and videos distort reality. Doctored photos and deepfakes falsely depict events that never happened or present a distorted narrative. Meanwhile, bots and fake accounts are used to spread false data, making it seem more widely believed than it is.

A major source of data manipulation is hyperpartisan websites that masquerade as legitimate news. They publish inflammatory, false stories to serve particular agendas. And readers who agree with those viewpoints accept the fake stories as true without scrutiny.

Media literacy and fact-checking are crucial to combating such data manipulation. Evaluating sources, seeking consensus from reputable outlets, and consulting primary sources can verify the information. Quality journalism is needed to cut through the disinformation.

Data Manipulation Fuels Misinformation

In summary, data manipulation is a driving force behind the proliferation of fake news and disinformation. Inaccurate or misleading statistics and information are intentionally used to shape false narratives. These false narratives then influence public opinion and policies.

To combat disinformation, individuals must approach data with critical thinking. Evaluate where statistics come from, how they were collected, and how they are presented. Be wary of cherry-picked, biased, or outright fabricated numbers. Also, be aware of correlation versus causation. And look for scientific consensus rather than single outliers.

Transparent, valid data is the antidote to misinformation. Scientists, researchers, journalists, and politicians alike must represent data truthfully. And the public must scrutinize the information they are presented with before accepting it as fact.

Society cannot afford to make decisions based on faulty data. Misguided policies, markets, behaviours, and beliefs can arise. Its integrity can be maintained only by upholding rigorous standards in gathering, analyzing, reporting, and peer-reviewing data. In the information age, dedication to facts and objective truth is imperative.

Widespread Instances of Data Manipulation

Everything You Thought You Knew About Cholesterol Could See a Change

Once again, the advice from experts regarding our dietary choices is evolving. A government advisory panel has recently made a decision suggesting that Americans may not need to be overly concerned about their cholesterol intake.

The USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services will use this advisory committee’s findings to create the final version of updated dietary guidelines by the year’s end.

The panel’s verdict is that cholesterol is no longer deemed a “nutrient of concern.” However, it’s essential to note that this doesn’t mean it’s time to indulge in high-cholesterol, fatty foods again, as cautioned by Dr. Jon LaPook, CBS News’ chief medical correspondent.

“There’s no such thing as a free meal. It turns out that foods rich in cholesterol also contain other unhealthy elements like saturated fats, trans fats, refined sugars, and the like,” explained LaPook.

These updated guidelines stem from a more advanced scientific comprehension of how cholesterol functions.

“The level of cholesterol in your blood still matters,” LaPook clarified. “So, the higher the level of bad cholesterol, the greater the risk of heart problems and similar issues. However, what the committee discovered is that the amount of cholesterol in your food doesn’t necessarily equate to higher cholesterol levels in your bloodstream.” Full story

The Controversial History of Cholesterol: Reexamining Its Impact on Health

After causing the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of thousands of people due to fear-driven tactics promoted by medical journals and doctors (many of whom lack the comprehensive education of their predecessors, thanks in part to the influence of the pharmaceutical industry on medical school curricula), it appears that there is a shift in perspective regarding cholesterol. This new research suggests that cholesterol might not be as detrimental as previously believed.

It’s crucial to understand that approximately 75% of the cholesterol in your body is produced by your liver. It’s highly unlikely that your body would manufacture something harmful deliberately. The entire cholesterol scare originated from a flawed experiment conducted by a Russian scientist who fed cholesterol to rabbits, contrary to their usual plant-based diet. When the rabbits’ arteries showed issues, the assumption was made that cholesterol was to blame. However, rabbits are herbivores, designed to consume only plant-based foods. Therefore, when you force-feed them something they cannot metabolize, it’s no surprise that negative effects occur. Interestingly, the scientist, Anichkov, later recanted this claim and discovered that animals capable of metabolizing cholesterol did not experience the same adverse effects as the rabbits.

Here lies the problem: cholesterol is exclusively found in animal products. Rabbits, being herbivores, are not biologically equipped to process animal products. When Anichkov conducted similar experiments on rats and guinea pigs (both meat-eaters), there was no impact on their arteries. Unfortunately, these subsequent studies received limited attention, and the initial rabbit study laid the groundwork for cholesterol demonization.

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Nonetheless, pharmaceutical companies discovered a lucrative opportunity and vigorously promoted this flawed argument. Regrettably, even today, there are many doctors who subscribe to this misleading narrative and instill unwarranted fear in their patients, compelling them to take hazardous medications to regulate something that doesn’t require such intervention.

It often takes years for them to acknowledge their misinformation and retract their previous claims, which frightened people into believing that cholesterol was a primary indicator of cardiovascular disease. In truth, low thyroid function serves as a more accurate marker for cardiovascular disease, as elaborated in Dr. Broda Barnes’ book.

Deceptive Practices in Herbal Supplements

Numerous popular herbal supplements are not what they claim to be, according to an ongoing investigation that subjected them to DNA testing. The results reveal that many of these supplements, when tested, do not contain the ingredients listed on their labels but instead are filled with inexpensive substitutes like wheat, rice, beans, or even houseplants.

For instance, bottles of Walmart-brand Echinacea, a herb believed to help with cold prevention, were found to be completely devoid of echinacea. Similarly, GNC-brand bottles of St. John’s wort, marketed as a treatment for depression, contained rice, garlic, and a tropical houseplant but no trace of the herb itself. In fact, this testing of hundreds of store-brand herbal supplements, promoted as remedies for a range of issues from memory loss to prostate trouble, revealed that four out of five of them lacked the herbs they claimed to contain.

These findings raise concerns about the accuracy of labeling and the quality of herbal supplements available on the market.

Revealing Deceptive Practices in Dietary Supplements

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has taken action by sending letters to the four major retail chains involved in the sale of dietary supplements—GNC, Target, Walmart, and Walgreens. In these letters, he demanded an immediate halt to the sale of adulterated or mislabeled dietary supplements. Schneiderman has raised serious concerns about the potential risks posed by these supplements. He noted that individuals with allergies or those taking specific medications can experience dangerous reactions when exposed to herbal products that contain undisclosed substances. Full story

This situation further highlights the close relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and the dietary supplement industry. It’s highly likely that someone was aware of these deceptive practices for quite some time. It’s essential to emphasize that there is no better substitute for a healthy diet, low-stress levels, and obtaining essential nutrients from natural food sources. When you eat right, you generally feel satisfied, whereas poor dietary choices can lead to constant dissatisfaction and cravings.

While some vitamins can be beneficial, it’s crucial to source them in bulk with minimal fillers. Fillers can diminish the effectiveness of a supplement, as many of these additives have inflammatory properties. For bulk vitamins with minimal fillers, you can explore options like Please note that we are not health practitioners or doctors, so conducting your research and consulting with a healthcare professional is advisable.

China’s Ambitious Global High-Speed Rail Network Plans and Their Strategic Implications

Currently, 38 countries and regions worldwide are collaborating on the construction of high-speed rail lines, with a significant focus on partnering with China for these projects. The goal is to establish a vast global high-speed rail network spanning Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, with a total length of 93,000 kilometres (approximately 58,000 miles). This network is 8.5 times longer than China’s existing high-speed railway system. Projections suggest that by 2030, around 60% of this extensive rail network, equivalent to 40,000 miles, will be completed. China itself intends to construct 34,600 kilometres of high-speed railways within its borders.

Furthermore, the Chinese government has entered into agreements to build an additional 34,700 kilometres of high-speed railways for various countries, including 26,300 kilometres allocated for initiatives like the “Silk Road Economic Belt” and the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road.”

This endeavour presents a substantial market opportunity for Chinese high-speed railway construction companies, estimated at approximately 69,400 kilometres (around 43,000 miles) of high-speed track, with a total investment value of 15 trillion yuan (equivalent to US$2.4 trillion). Out of this, train sales are anticipated to contribute 1-1.5 trillion yuan (approximately US$160-$240 billion). Full Story

As China and other key players collaborate to construct this new transportation network, it represents a strategic move with significant implications. Instead of engaging in what is considered wasteful military conflicts and contentious universal healthcare programs, they are opting for a forward-thinking approach. By creating this extensive transportation network, they aim to challenge the traditional hegemony of the United States. This strategy could boost their economies and those of their partners.

China and its strategic allies, such as Russia, are avoiding costly military endeavours in favour of long-term economic strategies. The success of this venture is not guaranteed, but even achieving a portion of the original plan would mark a substantial accomplishment. Notably, Europe and the Western world could play a vital role in supporting the development of this new route, as it aligns with their interests to reduce dependence on a dominant global player.

In essence, this initiative reflects a shift in global power dynamics and underscores the strategic significance of infrastructure and economic partnerships in today’s geopolitical landscape.

WikiLeaks Cable Reveals Secret NATO War Plans Against Russia

US State Department cables, which have been disclosed by WikiLeaks, have uncovered confidential NATO plans for a potential US-led conflict with Russia concerning the Baltic states. These cables, initially reported by The Guardian newspaper and later posted on the WikiLeaks platform, highlight the increasing geopolitical tensions between the United States and Russia. This tension persists despite the Obama administration’s efforts to reset relations and resolve lingering conflicts from the previous Bush administration.

The secret plans outline preparations for a full-scale war scenario with Russia. In such a situation, they propose the immediate deployment of nine divisions comprising US, British, German, and Polish troops in response to any Russian incursion into the former Soviet Baltic republics. Additionally, the plans specify German and Polish ports designated to receive naval assault units, as well as US and British warships prepared for potential confrontation with Russian forces.

Notably, the cables do not delve into the potentially catastrophic consequences of a military clash between the world’s two largest nuclear powers. While some Moscow analysts argued that Russian intelligence was already aware of these contingency plans, their public disclosure by WikiLeaks prompted protests from Russian officials and calls for clarification from NATO.

These contingency plans for deploying US troops against Russian forces were developed in the aftermath of the Russian-Georgian conflict in August 2008. The conflict arose following Georgia’s unsuccessful attempt to regain control over the breakaway territory of South Ossetia. As outlined in the cables, the governments of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania, which joined NATO in 2004, began advocating for the creation of a NATO strategy to defend their territories against potential Russian aggression.

The US embassy in Latvia began reporting these concerns to Washington even as the South Ossetia conflict was ongoing. A message dated August 15, 2008, cited discussions with Latvian leaders who expressed fears that their situation could resemble Georgia’s, and it conveyed that Latvians were beginning to question whether NATO membership would provide the security assurances they had anticipated.Full Story

US Assessment of the Muslim Brotherhood: A Shift in Middle East Policy

The normalization of data manipulation is a concerning trend. It’s intriguing how many leading newspapers often focus on negative aspects of Russia’s actions without acknowledging preexisting plans to provoke Russia, as indicated by these leaked cables and other available sources. A simple Google search on the right topic can reveal a wealth of information.

It seems that the US has been and continues to be committed to inciting Russia into a situation that could serve as a pretext for attempting to initiate another revolution with an oddly named label. The Arab Spring revolution, for instance, faced setbacks in Egypt and Syria. What’s less known is that the USA supported the Muslim Brotherhood during these events. However, the Muslim Brotherhood’s tenure in power was brief and they were soon ousted from leadership positions.

Syria, Libya, and the Role of International Players

In 2010 and 2011, during the Obama administration, an evaluation of the Muslim Brotherhood took place, commencing prior to the onset of the events recognized as the “Arab Spring” in Tunisia and Egypt. President Obama personally issued Presidential Study Directive 11 (PSD-11) in 2010, initiating an assessment of the Muslim Brotherhood and other “political Islamist” movements, including Turkey’s ruling AKP party. The ultimate conclusion of this evaluation was a recommendation to alter the United States’ longstanding policy in the Middle East and North Africa. Previously, the policy had supported “stability” in the region, even if it meant supporting authoritarian regimes. The new approach called for endorsing “moderate” Islamic political movements.

To this day, PSD-11 remains classified, primarily because it unveils a view of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) trends that is notably lacking in depth and understanding, which could be seen as embarrassing. Full story  

In the absence of intervention by Russia and China, Syria might have experienced a fate similar to Libya, which has since descended into chaos. It’s worth noting that most non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Russia, whose primary function is to create discord, have been expelled. Additionally, it’s highly unlikely that the United States would directly engage in a military conflict with Russia. Russia has not lost a ground war on its home territory in over a millennium, and Ukraine can indirectly be considered part of that historical sphere as it was once part of the USSR.



Media Portrayals, Personal Responsibility, and the Search for Truth

Once again, within the United States, leading newspapers and media outlets endeavour to depict a notorious figure as a virtuous individual who has been unjustly treated. It is essential to engage in focused online searches to uncover alternative perspectives, as the internet can offer surprising revelations. Following this, conducting thorough research becomes imperative.

The challenge arises from the fact that many individuals seem to lack the inclination to explore the other side of a story, even when they’ve previously been deceived by these supposedly credible sources. This behaviour reflects a form of Pavlovian conditioning at its peak, where instant gratification takes precedence, even if it leads to short-lived contentment and eventual suffering.

This principle of blind trust extends to various aspects of life, including food, medicine, and overall well-being. People often accept whatever the food industry, doctors, health experts, herbalists, or nutritionists promote without question. Then, they wonder why their health deteriorates and pose the somewhat naive question, “What happened to me?” In response, the answer is somewhat blunt but truthful: you received precisely what you requested.

In reality, the world operates without fairness; the majority rarely concern themselves with their health and welfare because, by and large, you exhibit indifference toward your surroundings. Ultimately, you are merely a statistic, an anonymous figure, a realization substantiated by the evidence that constantly surrounds you. Despite this knowledge, there’s an expectation that corporations and governments should prioritize your well-being.

The stark reality is that in this world, approximately 90% to 95% of institutions and individuals don’t genuinely care about you. That is why a genuine friend is a treasure, more valuable than gold. While this may initially appear harsh, taking a moment to look around and reassess the notion that everyone cares about you could lead to a more grounded perspective.


The Paradox of Selfishness and Self-Improvement

We have consistently argued that selfishness can be a positive trait, and that acting as a Good Samaritan without taking care of oneself can ultimately lead to personal stagnation. The underlying concept is straightforward: the term “greed” is often misused when it comes to prioritizing self-care and well-being over vindictiveness. For instance, the notion of being a “team player” can be misleading. How can one effectively contribute to a team if they haven’t mastered the art of individual competence? It’s essential to understand oneself first before attempting to collaborate with others and comprehend their needs.

This principle extends to those who are perpetually focused on helping others. How can one provide assistance if they have not first addressed their own needs? It’s worth noting that many doctors, despite their medical expertise, often appear unhealthy. This raises questions about the credibility of advice from someone who doesn’t seem to embody good health. A more prudent approach might involve assessing the doctor’s own well-being as an initial indicator of their credibility.

A similar principle applies to professions like mechanics; the condition of their own vehicles can reflect their competence. If a mechanic maintains their own car well, it suggests they are likely skilled in their field.

Lastly, the idea of loving and respecting one’s neighbour is a common moral precept. However, it’s crucial to recognize that such actions should ideally stem from a foundation of self-love and self-respect. Treating others with respect and kindness becomes far more genuine when it’s an extension of one’s own self-care and self-respect.


The Foundation of Self-Discovery, Self-Care, and Helping Others

The message is clear: to truly understand and respect others, one must begin with self-awareness, self-respect, and self-love. Only by knowing and valuing oneself can one progress to a stage where they can genuinely assist and show respect to others. When we discuss selfishness, it is within the context of self-discovery and self-preservation. Curiously, those who rush to aid others without first addressing their own needs often reveal a deeper form of selfishness. They may exhibit impatience or annoyance if their efforts are met with ingratitude, promptly reminding others of their past deeds.

The age-old adage, “no good deed goes unpunished,” or “the road to hell is paved with good intentions,” holds significant truth in this context. These sayings underscore the idea that good intentions alone do not guarantee positive outcomes, especially if the foundation of self-awareness and self-care is lacking.

It’s important to note that these discussions are general in nature, and there are always exceptions to any rule. Exceptional individuals, including some brilliant doctors who genuinely care for their patients’ well-being, do exist. However, they can be rare finds in a world where the majority may not fall into this category.


Other Articles Of Interest

Fear mongers are parasites that profit from your fear   (27 April)

Plain evidence that financial experts know even less than Jackasses (26 April)

Negative rates fantastic for speculators but terrible for the global economy (16 April)

How will Gold fare in a negative interest environment (14 April)

Electric Vehicles set to wreak havoc on Crude oil market (13 April )

Negative Rates are Godsend for the Greedy, unscrupulous corporate world (13 April)

Oops we are doing it again; Subprime Auto Loan Crisis party has begun (12 April)

Federal Reserve’s Game plan; create a new class of slaves (12 April)

China dumping worthless dollars & buying Gold bullion  (9 April)

Wall Street Mafia Utilize Psychological War Fare to Con the masses  (7 April)

Yuan surges past Canadian dollar for Global Payments (6 April)

China’s growing wealth makes China very good long term investment (6 April)

Some economic woes but no hard landing for China (5 April)

Fraud Crisis; U.S firms fudging their numbers like no tomorrow  (4 April)

War on cash & death of Middle Class (3 April)

Manipulating Data and the Media