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Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, MN

Live From Saint Paul

The Republican national convention, referred to as RNC08 is being held just a few blocks from my home. I live in St. Paul, Minnesota. I point out the location of the convention because it is one of the many facts that seems to be escaping the attention of the national media.

It has been an interesting experience, and the convention doesn’t start until Monday. We locals started spotting the FBI agents in early August. Next came the media brining huge trailers, satellite dishes and miles, and miles of cable with them. Then the semi’s started rolling in with all the food and beer.

Where to Find News

Late last week local news organizations started reaching out to people like me asking for any news or photos we might be getting so that they could include a kind of man on the street perspective on their web sites. I have been contributing photos and commentary via Twitter and Flickr.

Local news outlets are scrambling to be noticed by national media, and the non-traditional media outlets are scrambling to beat the main stream media.

Where are the Protesters?

The war protesters are out in full force. The local and non-traditional media are picking it up and reporting on the arrests and raids. The protesters, the local media, the national media, and the republicans all seem to be using the same hash tags on the internet #RNC08.

It didn’t take me long to discover something that I have known for a long time. The best source of news seems to be the internet. Last night I discovered that by using twitter I could keep track of various news organizations and the protesters. I also discovered that I could pass information back and forth between news organizations by re-tweeting some of the remarks, and the national news media re-tweeted some of my observations.

Twitter, blogs and mobile blogs are having a huge impact on news coverage. They have also become the great equalizer in that anyone can publish and get news. I can say for sure that the protesters are not getting much national news coverage. I guess there is nothing for the national news media to cover if protesters and demonstrators are in jail and can not assemble or speak. If I got all of my news through mainstream media channels I would be missing out on almost all of the pre-convention action.

A local radio station is asking the general public to watch the national media and report errors in coverage. So far there have been plenty because in spite of all the fancy equipment organizations like CNN brought into town they don’t seem to have maps or a GPS. They sit in the heart of the city of St. Paul and report news live from Minneapolis. Can the general public really rely on reporters who don’t even know where they are?

. . and the national news media covers local real estate?

It is the same with the national coverage of the Real Estate market by the national media. They don’t know what is really going on in a given town or neighborhood. Consumers may be better off reading our blogs and getting that street level view of reality from people who are engaged in the business every day.

Full time REALTOR and licensed broker with Saint Paul Home Realty Realty in St. Paul, Minnesota. Author of, Columnist for Inman News and an avid photographer.

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  1. Missy Caulk

    August 31, 2008 at 7:55 am

    This is an interesting year, huh? Yesterday I followed the MI game on a live blog, the comments throughout were coming in fast and furious.
    It is a whole new era for the conventions too. I think Twitter, blogs etc have become the great equalizer too. HAVE FUN!!

  2. Mack in Atlanta

    September 1, 2008 at 4:53 am

    If John McCain wanted to improve his exposure on the internet he should have selected Teresa Boardman as his running mate!

  3. Glenn fm Naples

    September 1, 2008 at 6:25 am

    National media do in fact read our blogs with real estate market conditions, but they are looking for facts and not spin. Unfortunately, too many real estate agents put a spin on their reporting, which greatly depreciates the value of the individual post.

  4. Teresa Boardman

    September 1, 2008 at 7:13 am

    The national media does not put a spin on the news? wow they have you fooled. They spin it by what they report, what they don’t report and how they report it. I have dealt with a few. They call looking for drama. They have the story all planned out and call Realtors until they find one or two who back it up. They need to sell papers, magazines and ads on television. Yes they are biased.

  5. Bob

    September 1, 2008 at 8:33 am

    Everybody puts a spin on stuff based on their own vested interests.

  6. Louis Cammarosano

    September 1, 2008 at 9:28 am

    Thanks for the coverage

    Paid journalism is inherently suspect as they write for their media owners who need stories that create interest in their product so they can gain readers/views and sell newspapers and ads

    Blogging news is also inherently suspect, while it may not have a direct profit motive, often it has something more suspect – an interest in pursuing its own brand of the truth.

    Having both bloggers and journalists out there gives us many points of view from which some semblance of the truth can be formed. This is certainly better than having just paid journalists covering out news.

  7. Glenn fm Naples

    September 1, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    Of course the national media spins stories to generate revenues. But how many real estate agents previously had the experience of taking a course on dealing with the press?

  8. Steve Simon

    September 2, 2008 at 5:52 am

    Until you have spent some time as an elected official you really have no idea at what depths the News Media will sink to…
    Read my profile.
    I have seen misquotes (known to be a misquote in advance of distribution) used as headlines.
    I have seen the with-holding of information that changes the entire context of a an event.
    I have seen thousands and thousands of dollars spent in one sided opposition research while major blunders of the other side are not even mentioned.
    Depending on the organization this one sided harang’s predisposed tilt is also usually predictable…

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Social Media

Has your Twitter account been hacked by ISIS?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) ISIS is using Twitter, as always, to spread propaganda, but are they using *your* account to do it? Maybe.



twitter accounts hacked by ISIS

Hackers aligned with the Islamic State are hijacking dormant Twitter accounts to spread jihadist propaganda online. Is your account vulnerable to ISIS?

TechCrunch reports that the breach is the result of a well-known loophole in Twitter’s security protocols. For more than a decade, the platform did not require email confirmation for new accounts. As a result, an unknown number of dormant accounts are easy targets for hackers. Last June, in attempt the curb the growth of automated spam accounts on the platform, Twitter instituted mandatory email confirmation for all new accounts, but millions of older accounts remain unverified. Now, it appears that those accounts are being targeted by the Islamic State and its supporters.

To complicate matters, Twitter is only partly to blame.

According to the Washington Post, Twitters boasted more than 330 million monthly active users in the second quarter of 2018, but the platform is home to another 500 million dead or dormant accounts, and many of those dormant accounts were created using email addresses that no longer exist.

Popular email providers like Hotmail and Yahoo regularly delete and recycle dormant accounts after a period of just 12-18 months of inactivity. If your Twitter account was created using an email address that has been recycled, then an enterprising hacker only needs to reactivate your old email address to gain access to your username.
Enter Islamic State.

Also known as IS or ISIS, Islamic State is a terrorist organization that uses revenue from oil smuggling, extortion, and kidnappings to fund religious violence. From 2014 to 2018, Islamic State conducted or inspired more than 140 terrorist attacks in 29 countries.

Since its inception, ISIS has used social media platforms including Twitter and YouTube to recruit new members and promote sectarian violence. In 2014, IS announced the death of American journalist and hostage James Foley by releasing a video of Foley’s beheading on YouTube. Two years later, an account associated with IS reportedly used the hashtag #JustinBieber to troll the pop star’s fans with a graphic video that included scenes of four men being executed.

Twitter has suspended or deleted more than 1 million terrorist accounts since 2015, and more than 200,000 of those accounts were removed in the first half of 2018 alone. So should you be worried about the security of your Twitter handles? That all depends on whether or not your accounts are linked to an active email address.

Log on. Check your setting. Delete any accounts that are linked to dead email addresses.

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Social Media

The FBI has a new division to investigate leaks to the media

(MEDIA) The FBI has launched a division dedicated completely to investigating leaks, and the stats of their progress and formation are pretty surprising…




Expanding its capability to investigate potential governmental leaks to the media, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) created a new unit to address those threats in 2018.

Documents obtained by TYT as a part of their investigation identify the need for the unit as being due to a “rapid” increase in the number of leaks to the media from governmental sources.

“The complicated nature of — and rapid growth in — unauthorized disclosure and media leak threats and investigations has necessitated the establishment of a new Unit,” one of the released and heavily redacted documents reads.

The FBI appeared to create accounting functions to support the new division, with one document dated in May 2018 revealing that a cost code for the new unit was approved by the FBI’s Resource Analysis Unit.

In August 2017, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions had stated that such a unit had already been formed to address such types of investigations, which he had deemed as being too few in number shortly after taking office in February 2017.

By November of the same year, Sessions claimed that the number of investigations by the Justice Department had increased by 800%, as the Trump administration sought to put an end to the barrage of leaks regarding both personnel and policy that appeared to come from within the ranks of the federal government.

The investigation and prosecution of leaks to the media from government reached a zenith under the Obama administration, using a United States law that originated over 100 years ago in 1917, and was long unused for such purposes.

The Espionage Act treats the unauthorized release of information deemed to be secret in the interests of national security and could be used to harm the interests of the United States or aid an enemy as a criminal act. While controversial in application, the administration used it to prosecute more than twice as many alleged leakers than had been addressed by all previous administrations combined, a total of 10 leak-related prosecutions.

In July 2018, Reality Winner, pled guilty to one felony count of leaking classified information in 2016, representing the first successful prosecution of those who leaked governmental secrets to the media under the Trump administration.

Winner, a former member of the Air Force and a contractor for the National Security Agency at the time of her arrest, was accused of sharing a classified report regarding alleged Russian involvement with the election of 2016 with the news media. Her agreed-upon sentence of 63 months in prison was longer than the average of those convicted for similar crimes, with the typical sentence ranging from one to three and a half years.

Defendants charged under the Espionage Act by the FBI are challenged in mounting their case by the fact that they are prohibited of using a defense of disclosure in the public interest as a defense to their actions.

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Social Media

MeWe – the social network for your inner Ron Swanson

MeWe, a new social media site, seems to offer everything Facebook does and more, but with privacy as a foundation of its business model. Said MeWe user Melissa F., “It’s about time someone figured out that privacy and social media can go hand in hand.”



mute social media

Let’s face it: Facebook is kind of creepy. Between facial recognition technology, demanding your real name, and mining your accounts for data, social media is becoming increasingly invasive. Users have looked for alternatives to mainstream social media that genuinely value privacy, but the alternatives to Facebook have been lackluster.

MeWe is poised to change all of that, if it can muster up a network strong enough to compete with Facebook. On paper, the new social media site seems to offer everything Facebook does and more, but with privacy as a foundation of its business model. Said MeWe user Melissa F., “It’s about time someone figured out that privacy and social media can go hand in hand.”

MeWe prioritizes privacy in every aspect of the site, and in fact, users are protected by a “Privacy Bill of Rights.” MeWe does not track, mine, or share your data, and does not use facial recognition software or cookies. (In fact, you can take a survey on MeWe to estimate how many cookies are currently tracking you – apparently I have 18 cookies spying on me!)

ron swanson

You don’t have to share that “as of [DATE] my content belongs to me” status anymore.

Everything you post on MeWe belongs to you – the site does not try to claim ownership over your content – and you can download your profile in its entirety at any time. MeWe doesn’t even pester you with advertising. Instead of making money by selling your data (hence the hashtag #Not4Sale) or advertising, the site plans to profit by offering additional paid services, like extra data and bonus apps.

So what does MeWe do? Everything Facebook does, and more. You can share photos and videos, send messages or live chat. You can also attach voice messages to any of your posts, photos, or videos, and you can create Snapchat-like disappearing content.

You can also sync your profile to stash content in your personal storage cloud. Everything you post is protected, and you can fine-tune the permission controls so that you can decide exactly who gets to see your content and who doesn’t – “no creepy stalkers or strangers.”

MeWe is available for Android, iOS, desktops, and tablets.

This story was originally published in January 2016, but the social network suddenly appears to be gaining traction.

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