tv The Listening Post 2018 Ep 33 Al Jazeera September 16, 2018 5:32pm-6:01pm +03
province of ca ground and some remote areas remain caught off south korea's president is preparing for the first summit with north korea's leader kim jong un since his singapore meeting with donald trump jane will be accompanied by the c.e.o.'s of leading south korean companies he's looking for closer economic ties with north korea despite nucleus sanctions of error of london so he can as called for a second referendum on the u.k.'s exit from the european union criticizing the government's handling of withdrawal to go see asians cohen says that the british public should have a final say on the deal. and those are the headlines the news continues here on al-jazeera with news grid right after the listening post next. there is a very important fourth of information for many people around the world when all the cameras are gone i'm still here go into areas that nobody else is going talk to people that nobody else is talking to and bringing that story to the forefront.
it has truly been a manic monday on wall street there's a big work. force here carrying out their careers and auctions by our. trust. hello i'm barbara sarah and you're the listening post here are some of the stories we're covering this week the financial press didn't quite see the crash coming ten years ago are they better equipped to alert us to imminent economic disasters now another powerful media man is taken down by the me too movement on the trail of fake online accounts and bolts pushing an agenda of regime change in iran and then economic debate for the ages. what can a government do when the reason economic crisis exactly
a decade ago the world was hit by the worst economic crisis since the great depression in the us trillions of dollars were sucked out of the global economy tens of millions of people lost their jobs and the austerity economics was imposed across many countries here i've been listening post reported back then on the failings of the financial coverage failings that meant the crash came as a huge surprise to many around the world the financial press cheered on a bubble that eventually burst showed a lack of skepticism about wall street claims and failed to expose what was in effect that mass fraud on their own beat namely the misselling of mortgages to millions of americans in the af. damascus some outlets apologized for the shortcomings in their reporting but ten years old how much has actually changed the listening post may not she won the lessons of two thousand and eight and the new challenges facing reporters on the business and economy beats today.
right now breaking news that your stocks of all around the world. because of the crisis on wall street two thousand and eight was a year. for governments regulators financial institutions and the journalists who reported on the. frankfurt is down by nine percent found by nine percent. it was like a war zone think about the institutions that have been around since the great depression bear stearns lehman brothers merrill lynch for all intents and purposes disappeared during this crisis there's the bankruptcy of lehman brothers the sale of merrill lynch to bank of america and word of trouble with the world's largest insurance company american international most of the financial crisis was not concealed by some dastardly. plot most of it was just widely ignored by the
public and politicians i miss journalists you know the shake shack or the shakes your trust in american institutions and most of the coverage leading up to the crash ignored the really central problems which was. pro-choice tactics were rife and they were really what drove the crash. oh i want to pay for your neighbor's mortgage that's next so they can't pay their bills right. oh. the most critical we are a financial journalism mold so i run the system that was unsustainable and that was . never forget that it was my freeze and miscalculation a mis regular. that caused the problem. in the years leading up to the financial crash global stock markets hit new highs real estate was booming investment banks used ever more complicated financial instruments primarily collateralized debt
obligations c.d.o. those and credit default swaps c.d.s. is not only enabled riskier and riskier mortgages to be given but allowed banks to make more and more money off them when people started to default on must the banks found themselves in too deep in a world in which banks relied on borrowing from each other for survival it set off a domino effect before two thousand and seven eight very few mainstream financial outlets were looking at the world of complex credit and derivatives and subprime mortgages and debt i wrote about it a fair amount i thought because i became absolutely fascinated by the question of what the geeks doing in these dark corners we don't understand most journalists thought that those kind of areas of finance a boring and technical and and you couldn't get on the front page of a newspaper you couldn't get it on the top of the running i was television show so the whole world got totally ignored financial journalists in particular began to
understand that all the nuance and the details of these incredibly complex instruments mattered but at the same time if you were out there saying oh my god watch out for c.d.'s watch out for c.e.o.'s you were treated like somebody were at him for oil have you worked hard considered somebody who understood fire. probing the culture of the financial press is central to any critical examination of its performance in the years after the crash critics on the outside and voices from inside the news rooms or pointed out some of the most problematic aspects of how the financial media operates a war my man. great thing they decided groupthink a reliance on access to industry insiders and crucially a sense that financial reporters have to be as enthused about the bottom lines of the companies the report on as the business is executives themselves it's like
covering a sports team. you have a tendency to start sharing because it's more exciting to cover something where there's a lot of money rolling around and profits are high and by defining it that way you're really sort of limiting your scope of vision you know our consumers treated one of the checks and balances within the company those kind of things often are forgotten if a company is doing well as a market is booming it's very easy to just sort of like the good times roll one nobody thinks of that happened around the start of twenty first century it was that television in the financial markets became much more important. it's much easier to convey a sense of manic excitement through a television studio interview than it is in the pages of a newspaper or this is fair to say that people like me who question the system and the sustainability of the boom well we won't show today but you want to tell me as a kind of unnecessary trouble maker there was a cultural pressure to say well if the great and good goes on forever it goes on
forever they specially because in the butt growing you've got these relentless channels of kind of one dimensional weird propaganda from the bottom or you know the american business it's easy to get sucked into their world. there's a question to be asked about audiences and how their interests shape journalistic output the financial press is consumed in large part by a nice group traders investors bankers and c.e.o.'s what's good news for them see for instance company mergers of credit bubbles are often reported positively by the financial press. what often goes under deported are wider impacts and concerns this can be contagious because so many mainstream outlets take their cues on business and financial reporting from the specialist press and then there's the question of
sources business journalists rely on their relationships with the executives the report on four stories access is priceless when you go to your annual shareholder meetings you get a standing ovation for what you've done there is a careful balance of being able to get the c.e.o. to come back on your channel and being able to get the c.e.o. to give you some news i don't think that in my experience of either bloomberg or c n b c we have reported punches we worked really hard to actually get difficult interviews you need to ask the question in a way that isn't rude because the viewers will immediately think you're being awful to this guess that you've invited on your show. in the aftermath of the financial crisis there's been a lot of introspection by the media journalists had to face the failings of their work before two thousand and eight and reassess their approach to the finance and economy. there's still work to be done. the media is still very obsessed with the
issues that create the last crisis the one thing we can count on is that the next crisis won't come from exactness and era it will be something else like what's happening with the pension system today what's happening with say exchange traded funds what's happening with other areas of financial technology think tank plus there are other areas of our life where you have once again geeks in control of a technology that no one else understands i think that the financial media has become a bit more skeptical post two thousand and eight but i wouldn't say that there's been a massive culture change not thinking about the health of society the health of the nation and how well customers are being treated. that's really kind of a secondary thing so that does worry me but that says there has been some really good reporting the los angeles times did great reporting breaking the wells fargo fake account scandal but in general there are a lot of financial stories out there that aren't getting the kind of digging
investigative reporting that they may or i think there is a strategic mismatch between job journalism and the kind of world we live in. business journalism can all be looks proves to be asked to ask the question should be as much even be being played to the movies being played sports didn't sit on the football much we must ask for the banking system. all the rules wrong all the players poor creature is the game futile is it destroying us this is on t.v. live it. or discussing other media stories that are on our radar this week with one of our producers flo phillips so let's start with lez moonves longtime balsa one of the biggest u.s. t.v. networks that's a c.b.s. and he stepped down over a series of allegations of sexual misconduct well the first resignation we've seen since the start of the need to move went why is this one such
a big deal for lots of reasons barbara les moonves as chairman president and c.e.o. really is c.b.s. or rather he was he successfully led that network for more than two decades and such a long time in this industry is pretty rare but the me too movement has really changed everything nobody is off limits anymore and the span of just ten months c.b.s. has lost charlie rose who hosted the morning news show jeff fager the head of its signature investigative program sixty minutes and moonves off the allegations about mean best first surfaced back in july c.b.s. launched an investigation but he hung on even after he did meet it and apologized for some of his behavior then last weekend when in fact the john this. edited with the harvey weinstein exposé almost a year ago now details a further six allegations from additional women and members was gone in a matter of hours or moonves may be gone but there's still some questions about his seemingly quite large severance package how big are we talking about exactly so
that's really going to depend on the outcome of this c.b.s. investigation if moonves is found to be guilty he'll get nothing otherwise the details of his contract mean he could walk away with as much as one hundred twenty million dollars it was originally one hundred forty million dollars but members and c.b.s. a collectively donating twenty million to organizations that support equality for women in the workplace and the need to movement now needless to say members continues to deny the allegations in farrah's reports we'll definitely follow developments on that story let's move on now to something else that happened earlier this week you tube removed several accounts run by the syrian government what reasons of the given for doing it and why now so we're talking here about some of the major channels accounts associated with president assad's office the ministry of defense as well as the syrian arab news agency sunnah this all comes at a time when syrian forces along with their russian ally have launched fresh strikes
on it live for last major city held by anti regime forces you tube appears to have been pushed into taking this step after a report came out detailing how these accounts were generating income through ads that were being played before their content and that's a clear violation of the twenty eleven order issued by president obama banning american companies from doing any business with syria this potentially sets a precedent though and the same thing could happen i guess to the accounts of other countries and other governments that the u.s. doesn't get on with i'm thinking of iran is an obvious example potentially in a statement a you tube spokes person said that you tube complies with all a pickle sanctions and trade compliance laws if we find. an account violates our terms of service or community guidelines we disable it now given how active you tube and other social media sites have been lately when it comes to blocking various content that could indeed be more to come flow thank you. the debate over
iran has always been polarizing no surprise for a country that's been on the wrong end of united states foreign policy for nearly four decades and with the withdrawal of the us from the iran nuclear deal this year those calling for the hardest line against the islamic republic starting with more sanctions have received the boost on the other side of the debate those pushing back against what many say is an agenda for regime change a report an online backlash the likes of which they've not seen before however the twitter accounts doing the trolling may not be the organic opposition voices that they're made out to be for all the accusations of this information and fake news from both sides it's rare that we can point to facts a location and actual personnel explaining the modus operandi of an organized troll factory the listening posts will young investigated the story and the trail has led to tehran washington d.c.
or riyadh but to tirana in albania. iran has now joined russia as a country accused of using the internet to sow chaos for its adversaries while evidence of the effectiveness of iran's campaign is far from conclusive last month twitter announced it had suspended some eight hundred accounts said to be involved in coordinated manipulation it said it was linked to the country but there's another side to this story thousands of accounts many of them likely automated to the boosting trends presenting the islamic republic as the implacable enemy of the west and of the rights of its own people. the turning point was really trumps the election once it became very clear from the outset that there would be really heightened hostility with iran there was profusion new accounts anonymous
accounts who were very single mindedly and purposefully going after. people who wrote about talked about you around with new ones the majority of it is abusive libelous. and intended to silence mindful of the difficulty for western journalists to be able to have access to you ron the majority of journalists are looking to twitter as a proxy over where the debate is going where the sentiments are where the trends are going twitter attacks and these social media campaigns have at least initially been successful in giving the impression that this small minority who is supporting the trumpet ministrations policy actually constitute a majority or a growing majority of. the simplest kind of social media engineering is not much more than the numbers going twitter bots created by the hundreds or thousands can
be programmed to tweet tweet to clean in order to boost trends artificially. on a smaller scale individuals and groups can copy paste them tweets using several accounts to multiply the impact of bad ideas twitter would not share with our sleeves on methodology for detecting think counts but openly available metadata can tell us a lot about where to look when there's loads you might see hundreds and hundreds in some cases thousands of accounts created on a specific day the majority of the counts tweeting on the free iran has to run a regime change has time. from the period of late december to made created within about four months and what i would suggest is that a lot of the activity on those hash tags for iran and iran regime change. but there's only so much you can discover online so we followed rumors of an anti iranian government fake account factory to albania between two thousand and
thirteen and two thousand and sixteen the united nations at the behest of the united states relocated some two thousand nine hundred members of an exiled iranian opposition group calling itself the people's money how do you know iran or pay as it's otherwise you know to this behind me less than one hour withdrawing from the capital tehran former members of the group confirm that part of the heavily guarded facility is a troll farm dedicated to social media manipulation on an industrial scale. we would receive daily orders highlighting the main ongoing issues in iran for example high prices unemployment poverty we had to bring them to the attention of the world by tweeting them and blaming them on the islamic regime in one way or the other this was our duty on a daily basis in cyberspace will be going much and. on best to take an order might tell us which newspapers had published a favorable piece or if
a politician such as john mccain or john bolton had spoken against the regime in an interview we would then like to tweet and leave comments as if they genuinely came from people in iran any piece of news that could be used to their benefit and against the iranian regime would be cold regardless of where it came from whether it be israel the u.s. trump anyone had. missed that because our stance towards those who even slightly sided with the regime or were critical of our organization such as trita parsi was that they were highly and puppets of the regime we label them as exported soldier. as of the melissa regime who are enjoying themselves in america. because of my platform i have received a significant amount of twitter attacks of this kind but i am nowhere near being alone this is actually a very pervasive phenomenon the big victim of this is that we don't have a rational conversation about policy towards iran or even what the situation is
like inside iran right now. case in point at the end of two thousand and seventeen and the beginning of this year the series of protests played up in a number of iranian cities. promoting regime change spiked shaping the narrative the many in the mainstream media we now know that much of that online activity was externally engineered a lot of the activity around the protest in iran has been exploited by whoever setting up these bot networks a certain community as it were that promoting the m.e. k. and using unrest in iran as a platform i have found what i believe to be bought accounts support of the iranian government and they do get to be bought but at the moment they seem far smaller in volume. our borders would tell us which hashtags to use in our tweets they were popular hashtags such as national demonstrations or overthrow they told us to use
these hashtags to make them more active it was our job to provide coverage of the protests by seeking out tweeting and read tweeting videos as well as adding our own comments to them. you know the larger size of. overall i'd say that several thousand the consarn managed by about one thousand to one thousand five hundred m. e k. members it was all very well organized and there were clear instructions about what needed to be done any other online activities or web surfing were prohibited there were tell us that the devices provided by the organization were like weapons and our tweets were. bullets to shoot at the enemy so why waste their to find them you don't know where surely. the culture like a mother having a child has almost no support in iran many still remember the domestic terror campaign it run in the years following the revolution and how a meek a forces fought alongside saddam hussein during the iran iraq war however
the organization has cultivated powerful friends abroad britain lifted its designation as a terrorist organization in two thousand and eight the e.u. did the same in two thousand and nine and the united states in two thousand and twelve after the m e k was forced out of iraq it was the us who brokered a deal to resettle them in albania where the social media campaign against the islamic republic continues this activity is very much focused on the debate in the west because i think the intention is in part to prepare public opinion in the west for whatever kind of regime change agenda washington is pursuing if the regime continues its nuclear aspirations it will have bigger problems than it has ever had before these and make a member as they have no way back they are absolutely desperate and you know are
probably willing to get behind anything it's not like what happens on social media stays there anymore it filters way into mainstream media there is so much propaganda so much fake news it would take very little create a wave of what looks like popular iranian opinion against the government is not necessarily real. the m.e. k. did not agree to our request for an interview telling us the plots involving agents of iran posing as journalists made any contact impossible that leaves only defectors stranded in albania to tell the story of how keyboard warriors use and abuse social media to promote an agenda for regime change. and finally we're closing our show this week with a video that came out in the years just after the two thousand and eight crash with so much talk of finance and the komi becoming mainstream and american economist and the t.v. producer teamed up and created a rap battle to break down a long running debate on how governments should react to an economic crisis the two
main characters in this video are the twentieth century called mists john maynard keynes and frederick von hyatt keynes a from buoyant break to argued that government spending was needed to grow the economy out of recession high it cut more measured all strain believe the opposite that government attempts to control the economy with a problem neither man lived to see the crisis and in this video entitled fear the boom and bust they are reborn strangely with american accents however given where the financial crisis drop both originated it's something we can overlook we'll see you next right here at the listening post. the book on modern growth comes when the economies of depression now your questions have a seat and you would say it's one hundred nine the big. con of. persistent the result of ages waiting for.
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al-jazeera where every. this is al-jazeera live from studio fourteen here at al-jazeera headquarters in doha on come all santa maria welcome to the newsgroups it is hong kong and china is turn to feel the force of typhoon monklands and that means millions of people being moved out of harm's way but in its wake devastation in the philippines fifty three people have now been confirmed dead we will have the latest on that none could also tropical depression florence in the u.s. which is parked over the carolinas and causing major flooding concerns also on the grid the war in yemen u.n. envoy martin griffiths is in the capital sanaa for another attempt to bring the heard things on the saudi coalition.