New York Times: Whistle-Blower to Accuse Facebook of Contributing to Jan. 6 Riot, Memo Says

New York Times: Whistle-Blower to Accuse Facebook of Contributing to Jan. 6 Riot, Memo Says. “The whistle-blower, whose identity has not been publicly disclosed, planned to accuse the company of relaxing its security safeguards for the 2020 election too soon after Election Day, which then led it to be used in the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, according to the internal memo obtained by The New York Times. The whistle-blower planned to discuss the allegations on ’60 Minutes’ on Sunday, the memo said, and was also set to say that Facebook had contributed to political polarization in the United States.”

New York Times: Red Covid

New York Times: Red Covid. “Because the vaccines are so effective at preventing serious illness, Covid deaths are also showing a partisan pattern. Covid is still a national crisis, but the worst forms of it are increasingly concentrated in red America.”

Nature Communications: Neutral bots probe political bias on social media

Nature Communications: Neutral bots probe political bias on social media. “Social media platforms attempting to curb abuse and misinformation have been accused of political bias. We deploy neutral social bots who start following different news sources on Twitter, and track them to probe distinct biases emerging from platform mechanisms versus user interactions. We find no strong or consistent evidence of political bias in the news feed. Despite this, the news and information to which U.S. Twitter users are exposed depend strongly on the political leaning of their early connections.”

COVID Cases, Deaths Notably Worse In Red States Than Blue States: Report (HuffPost)

HuffPost: COVID Cases, Deaths Notably Worse In Red States Than Blue States: Report. “By the looks of it, Republican attacks on masks and COVID-19 vaccines don’t seem to be particularly healthy for people living in red states. In several instances in recent months, both COVID-19 cases and deaths are notably higher in Republican states than in Democratic blue states, according to an analysis of data by The Washington Post.”

Fueling the Fire: How Social Media Intensifies U.S. Political Polarization — And What Can Be Done About It

NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights: Fueling the Fire: How Social Media Intensifies U.S. Political Polarization — And What Can Be Done About It. “Determining whether social media plays a role in worsening partisan animosity is important because political polarization has pernicious consequences. We conclude that social media platforms are not the main cause of rising partisan hatred, but use of these platforms intensifies divisiveness and thus contributes to its corrosive effects.”

Scoop: Facebook’s new moves to lower News Feed’s political volume (Axios)

Axios: Scoop: Facebook’s new moves to lower News Feed’s political volume. “Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.”

PsyPost: Study finds coronavirus-related polarization is stronger among people higher in cognitive ability

PsyPost: Study finds coronavirus-related polarization is stronger among people higher in cognitive ability. “New psychology research indicates that cognitive ability exacerbates political polarization in responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The study, published in Intelligence, found that people with greater verbal ability tended to have more polarized responses, which may be related to their selective consumption of partisan media.”

CNN: Conservative radio host’s Covid death should prompt others to end vaccine lies

CNN: Conservative radio host’s Covid death should prompt others to end vaccine lies. “Sadly, for the Valentine family, Phil won’t come back home. I sincerely was rooting for him to recover, as a fellow radio host and human being. I hoped that if Phil followed through on his promise to encourage his conservative listeners to get vaccinated, it could have saved countless lives. The question now, though, is: Will other conservative media outlets, from Fox News to local radio hosts, honor Valentine’s memory by finally stopping spewing misinformation about the vaccine?”

Opinion: When culture wars turn deadly (Washington Post)

Washington Post: Opinion: When culture wars turn deadly. “There have always been anti-vaxxers. But attitudes toward this round of vaccinations are so embedded in tribal conflict that persuasion on the merits is, if not impossible — the threat of the delta variant has changed some minds — then far more difficult than it should be. Culture wars are like that. They shut down conversation.”

PsyPost: New research indicates Trump contributed to Americans embracing beliefs that neutralized social distancing norms

PsyPost: New research indicates Trump contributed to Americans embracing beliefs that neutralized social distancing norms. “People who endorsed President Donald Trump’s denials of the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic were more likely to adopt justifications for deviant behavior related to social distancing, according to new research conducted during the early stages of the coronavirus outbreak. The study has been published in the scientific journal Deviant Behavior.”

MSNBC: What the elusive RNC statement on Afghanistan actually said

MSNBC: What the elusive RNC statement on Afghanistan actually said. “It’s important to emphasize at the outset that much of the RNC’s online archive has been removed, not just this single document. I went searching this morning for RNC press statements from 2020 regarding the COVID pandemic, the campaign, and Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation process. The links to all of the online statements from last year led to the same ‘404 error’ page. In other words, it appears the RNC scrubbed its online archive of effectively all pre-2021 statements, not just the press release about Trump and Afghanistan.”

CNN: Republicans are seizing on backlash to new mask and vaccine mandates

CNN: Republicans are seizing on backlash to new mask and vaccine mandates. “As Republicans head back to their districts for the August recess, they are hammering the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and seizing on the backlash to new mask and vaccine mandates — part of a GOP-wide effort to use the fears and frustrations of Americans worried about another round of school closures and lockdowns as cudgels against their Democratic opponents.”

Poll: Majorities support vaccine, mask mandates — but not Republicans (Politico)

Politico: Poll: Majorities support vaccine, mask mandates — but not Republicans. “A majority of voters support mandatory coronavirus vaccines and indoor mask-wearing requirements, according to a new Morning Consult/POLITICO poll that shows opposition to the requirements is chiefly limited to Republicans. The survey also found that about half of all voters blame the new wave of infections that have sent numbers spiking equally on the unvaccinated and on political leaders opposed to mask-wearing and social-distancing mandates.”