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The Making of a No. 1 YouTube Conspiracy Video After the Parkland Tragedy

“I had no idea where all the attention was coming from,” said “mike m.” in an online chat interview with The New York Times. “I just noticed it started to take off.”Many commenters were confused. “Why is this on trending, especially on news? Nothing special,” wrote one. Others, tipped off by the caption calling Mr. Hogg an actor, knew exactly what they thought they were seeing: “Someone get this kid an Oscar!” one wrote.By noon on Wednesday, YouTube had pulled the video for violating its policy on harassment and bullying.It was not the first time that YouTube had served not just as a source of fringe conspiracy theories, but as an accomplice in their rapid spread.After the massacre in Las Vegas last October, YouTubers filled a void of information about the killer’s motives with dark speculation, crowding the site with videos that were fonts of discredited and unproven information, including claims that the tragedy had been staged.After a mass shooting last November at a church in Sutherland Springs, Tex., those seeking news about the event on YouTube were overwhelmed by videos falsely claiming it had been a “false flag” attack meant to spur gun control measures or a plot carried out by the so-called antifa (short for anti-fascist) movement.PhotoMr. Hogg speaking at a rally calling for more gun control after the shooting at his high school.Credit Jonathan Drake/ReutersIn the wake of this latest tragedy, which left 17 people dead at the school in Parkland, YouTube still seemed caught by surprise by the rise of another video meant to peddle a baseless theory.Continue reading the main story“In 2017, we started rolling out changes to better surface authoritative news sources in search results, particularly around breaking news events,” YouTube, which is owned by Google, said in a statement. “We’ve seen improvements, but in some circumstances these changes are not working quickly enough. […]

N.R.A. Chief, Wayne LaPierre, Offers Fierce Defense of 2nd Amendment

Mr. LaPierre’s pugnacious appearance appeared to signal a tactical shift for the N.R.A., which had officially remained mostly quiet in the week after the Florida shooting, even as a movement of young people, including survivors of the massacre, made emotional pleas for gun control. The organization typically uses the first few days after an episode of mass gun violence to lie low before it comes out hard in opposition to any new gun control measures.“The N.R.A. will not only speak out,” he said, “we will speak out louder and we will speak out stronger than ever before.”Mr. LaPierre, who for around three decades has been the N.R.A.’s public face of unwavering resistance to tighter restrictions on guns, used his speech to play to the fear and mistrust that many on the right have toward government.He raised the specter of mass gun confiscation. He accused federal agencies like the Justice Department of weaponizing their power to punish political enemies. He warned darkly that “our country will be changed forever” at the hands of socialist conspirators.“History proves it. Every time in every nation in which this political disease rises to power, its citizens are repressed, their freedoms are destroyed and their firearms are banned and confiscated,” he said, reading slowly and deliberately from his prepared text.Mr […]

Top Russian Official Tried to Broker ‘Backdoor’ Meeting Between Trump and Putin

These contacts were set against the backdrop of a sophisticated effort by Russia to hack Democratic computers, disseminate propaganda and undermine Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy. The latest disclosure about Mr. Torshin, who is a leading figure in Mr. Putin’s party, United Russia, shows the direct involvement of a high-ranking Russian official in the Kremlin’s outreach to the campaign.The overture to the Trump campaign was first reported by CNN. The New York Times confirmed new details, including Mr. […]

White House Says Charges Against Campaign Advisers Do Not Touch Trump

“No, not concerned,” Mr. Sekulow said on CNN. “I’m completely convinced as I was from the outset that not only was there no Russian collusion, there was no obstruction.” He added: “I’m not concerned about this at all and no one else is either.”GraphicHow Key Trump Associates Have Been Linked to RussiaSeveral are under scrutiny by the F.B.I. and Congress.OPEN GraphicOn Twitter, Mr. Trump reacted only to the indictment of Mr. […]

Hurricane Maria Live Updates: Puerto Rico Suffers a Direct Hit With Worries of Floods

Federal officials say they are prepared to helpPresident Trump said on Wednesday that he had “never seen” winds like the ones generated by Hurricane Maria as it made landfall in Puerto Rico.Continue reading the main story“We have a big one going right now — I’ve never seen winds like this — in Puerto Rico,” he said as he entered a meeting in New York with King Abdullah II of Jordan. “You take a look at what’s happening there, and it’s just one after another.”The king extended his “condolences” to residents in the path of the three storms that have hit the United States over the last several weeks, adding, “For us sitting on the outside, looking at how the Americans came together at a difficult time, is really an example to everybody else.”Newsletter Sign UpContinue reading the main storyThank you for subscribing.An error has occurred. Please try again later.You are already subscribed to this email.View all New York Times newsletters.On CNN, Brock Long, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said that the agency was well positioned to help in Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands.Mr. Long confirmed that both areas had fragile power systems. “It’s going to be a very frustrating event to get the power back on,” he said.‘There was howling in every part of this house,’ said a St. Croix residentResidents of the Virgin Islands, whose homes were damaged by Irma two weeks ago, had been urged to find new shelters to ride out Maria.The storm began pounding the Virgin Islands on Tuesday evening, and a flash-flood alert was sent to residents’ cellphones at 10:05 p.m., Gov. Kenneth E. Mapp of the United States Virgin Islands said. He had warned that hurricane-strength winds were likely to batter the islands until Wednesday morning.The core of the storm passed south of the Virgin Islands, with the outer eyewall lashing St […]

Harvey Live Updates: Death Toll Rises in Texas

• Flooding remained severe in eastern Texas and western Louisiana, but the storm is starting to lose its tropical characteristics as it moves toward the Ohio Valley, according to the National Weather Service.• Anxiety about another hurricane is growing as Irma builds strength on the open Atlantic. Forecasters warned that it was still far too early to know whether its path would lead it toward the United States.• The electricity provider Entergy said about 61,000 customers without power in eastern Texas on Friday morning, down from a peak of 84,000. About 9,500 customers in western Louisiana were also without electricity.• There were about 136,000 flooded structures just in Harris County, the state’s most populous, the county Flood Control District estimated on Thursday night.• Nationally, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline continues to hit new highs for the year, reaching $2.52 on Friday morning, up from $2.45 on Thursday, according to the AAA motor club.• About 42,000 people were housed overnight at Red Cross and partner shelters in Texas, Suzy DeFrancis, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross told CNN Friday, an increase since the day before. She said that the organization would probably be in an emergency relief mode until at least Thanksgiving.• In Beaumont, the Neches River was expected to crest on Friday more than seven feet higher than the previous record, and to remain above the old record for several days, the National Weather Service reported. […]

‘Wow’: Stunned TV Hosts Reacted in Real Time to Trump

“They were chanting things like, ‘Jews will not replace us,’” Mr. Benson said. “There’s nothing good about that.”His co-host, Ms. Timpf, a libertarian pundit who contributes to National Review Online, exhaled deeply. “It was one of the biggest messes that I’ve ever seen,” she said. “I can’t believe it happened.”Disbelief also dominated the early reaction on MSNBC and CNN, where Mr […]