• Newseum Incident Reveals Irony Detection Bug in Mitt Romney Software

    Through the magic of computational learning theory, Mitt Romney's circuits have gradually evolved into a more workmanlike approximation of a human American. Gone is the haywire that programming that led the the young Romney to forcibly restyle the hair of his gay schoolmate, replaced by an algorithm that merely blocks the publication of anti-bullying guides due to objections to the words "bisexual" and "transgender" in passages about protecting certain students from harassment. Progress!

    But the human mind is wondrously complex, and some of its higher functions, like irony, still call forth runtime errors in the current version of Mittbot.

    On Wednesday, Mitt Romney held an event at the Newseum in Washington, D.C, a museum dedicated to news and journalism, operated by a foundation dedicated to "free press, free speech and free spirit for all people." After a 28-minute speech to members of the Business Roundtable, Romney stayed to take questions from the audience, but reporters were escorted out of the room and weren't allowed to listen to the exchange.

    As Michael Calderone points out, the Newseum features a 74-foot high engraving of the First Amendment, so it's not as if the wording about press freedoms were the wrong height.

    But a private event is a private event and a questionable commitment to transparency is a bipartisan reality. The Obama campaign did the exact same thing following a speech to business leaders in March, and has gone even further in private fundraisers, by confiscating attendees' cell phones, probably because electronic devices are presumed to be accomplices of Romney.

    Photo by Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images News/Getty Images

    Tags: Barack Obama, Media, Mitt Romney, Washington DC


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