How a Former 'Vice' Editor Got Caught Smuggling Cocaine ; How To Fight Lies Online ; and More Picks 12/5

Federal Agency Will Be Run by Man Who Tried to Ban Feeding Homeless (Reader Steve)

The author writes, “A consultant known for urging cities to stop ‘enabling’ homeless people, in part by blocking charities from handing out food, has been tapped to lead the agency that coordinates the federal government’s response to homelessness. Robert Marbut, who has worked with several cities, including Fresno and several other California cities and counties, would succeed Matthew Doherty as executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.”

How a Former ‘Vice’ Editor Got Caught Smuggling Cocaine (Russ)

The author writes, “In December 2015, five young people were arrested in Australia during a botched drug trafficking attempt. In September 2019, their handler Yaroslav Pastukhov — a onetime Vice Canada editor known as Slava P. — pleaded guilty to conspiracy to import cocaine. Slava admits his involvement in the scheme, and expects to serve time in prison. Does he feel that bad about it?”

The Fact-Check Industry (Chris)

From the Columbia Journalism Review: “According to the 2019 Duke University Reporters’ Lab census, 44 fact-checking organizations existed five years ago; there are 195 now. The checking these organizations do is not the internal prepublication review found at well-resourced magazines, but an independent business of verification, debunking, and correction of untruths that have already been published — and spread widely on the Web. The new age of fact-checking may therefore be interpreted as journalism adapting to the needs of its digital environment. But it might also be seen as a dismantling of journalism’s traditional role and a reconstruction of its workflow, flexing to suit the priorities and the ideologies of the tech companies now paying checkers’ salaries.”

How to Fight Lies, Tricks, and Chaos Online (Gerry)

The author writes, “The internet is full of grifters, tricksters, and outright liars who rely on people’s basic trust to amplify their message. … As a person who does care deeply about putting true things online, I know I’ve personally misunderstood stories because I didn’t think to look more closely, and not always because somebody was deliberately fooling me. It took me years to really understand where all the information I saw online was coming from. So this isn’t just a guide to spotting when something is fake. It’s a system for slowing down and thinking about information — whether that information is true, false, or something in between.”

Visiting Art Museums Can Offer Significant Relief for People Living With Dementia (Mili)

From Artnet: “[A] study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease reported reduced levels of depression, and improved quality of life, as well as cognitive function, in people with dementia who participated in a special program at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.”