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Washington Post Conspiracy Theory: Russian Fake News

Analysis of media reports, political trends, new laws, and legal and constitutional issues related to the war on terrorism. Please refrain from value judgements, partisanship and laying blame. If this Topic requires too much moderation we will close it.

Washington Post Conspiracy Theory: Russian Fake News

Postby Major_Tom » Wed Dec 07, 2016 6:33 pm

This is a thread to study the dynamics of a conspiracy theory being created through the U.S. mainstream media (MSM).


The original article which set the tone for the conspiracy theory is called:

"Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say"

Printed in the Washington Post on November 24, 2016.

It is linked here


This is from the same newspaper that helped bring us the Iraq war, so they know quite a bit about fake news.

From experience it is possible to predict that the conspiracy theory will be projected through meme replication. Other main stream news organizations will replicate the memes while demonstrating little if any capacity to think critically.


From the article:

The flood of “fake news” this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.

Russia’s increasingly sophisticated propaganda machinery — including thousands of botnets, teams of paid human “trolls,” and networks of websites and social-media accounts — echoed and amplified right-wing sites across the Internet as they portrayed Clinton as a criminal hiding potentially fatal health problems and preparing to hand control of the nation to a shadowy cabal of global financiers. The effort also sought to heighten the appearance of international tensions and promote fear of looming hostilities with nuclear-armed Russia.

Two teams of independent researchers found that the Russians exploited American-made technology platforms to attack U.S. democracy at a particularly vulnerable moment, as an insurgent candidate harnessed a wide range of grievances to claim the White House.



The experts making the claim:

Watts’s report on this work, with colleagues Andrew Weisburd and J.M. Berger, appeared on the national security online magazine War on the Rocks this month under the headline “Trolling for Trump: How Russia Is Trying to Destroy Our Democracy.” Another group, called PropOrNot, a nonpartisan collection of researchers with foreign policy, military and technology backgrounds, planned to release its own findings Friday showing the startling reach and effectiveness of Russian propaganda campaigns. (Update: The report came out on Saturday).


PropOrNot’s monitoring report, which was provided to The Washington Post in advance of its public release, identifies more than 200 websites as routine peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season, with combined audiences of at least 15 million Americans.



A note: The PropOrNot website is at this link.

The PropOrNot list of Kremlin stooges is found at this link.

Wikileaks! I knew it!

Robert Parry at Consortium News. I've always had my suspicions!

Counterpunch Magazine. Hmmmm...


More from the article:

Some players in this online echo chamber were knowingly part of the propaganda campaign, the researchers concluded, while others were “useful idiots” — a term born of the Cold War to describe people or institutions that unknowingly assisted Soviet Union propaganda efforts.




“The way that this propaganda apparatus supported Trump was equivalent to some massive amount of a media buy,” said the executive director of PropOrNot, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid being targeted by Russia’s legions of skilled hackers. “It was like Russia was running a super PAC for Trump’s campaign. . . . It worked.”

He and other researchers expressed concern that the U.S. government has few tools for detecting or combating foreign propaganda. They expressed hope that their research detailing the power of Russian propaganda would spur official action.
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Re: Washington Post Conspiracy Theory: Russian Fake News

Postby Major_Tom » Wed Dec 07, 2016 6:37 pm

An article by Robert Parry released on November 18, 2016, one week before the Washington Post article, is called

"What to Do About ‘Fake News’". It is linked here.

>>>>>>>


Some responses to the Washington Post article below...

"Washington Post Reporter Spreads Blacklist of Independent Journalist Sites" by Pam Martens and Russ Martens: December 1, 2016, linked here.

"Media Complicity is Key to Blacklisting Websites" by Norman Solomon: December 6, 2016, linked here.

"Washington Post Disgracefully Promotes a McCarthyite Blacklist From a New, Hidden, and Very Shady Group" by Glen Greenwald: November 26 2016, linked here.

"Manufacturing Normality" by CJ Hopkins: December 6, 2016, linked here.
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Re: Washington Post Conspiracy Theory: Russian Fake News

Postby Major_Tom » Wed Dec 07, 2016 6:37 pm

Reserved space
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Re: Washington Post Conspiracy Theory: Russian Fake News

Postby Oystein » Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:45 pm

Major_Tom wrote:...
This is from the same newspaper that helped bring us the Iraq war, ...

Blatant propaganda.
There are several things unkosher with this statement. Need I parse?

You bring up an interesting topic, but reveal your biases early on.
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Re: Washington Post Conspiracy Theory: Russian Fake News

Postby OneWhiteEye » Thu Dec 08, 2016 6:57 am

Oystein wrote:You bring up an interesting topic, but reveal your biases early on.

I know! Focusing on the Washington Post when the New York Times was leading the charge in Iraq war propaganda!
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Re: Washington Post Conspiracy Theory: Russian Fake News

Postby SanderO » Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:03 am

OneWhiteEye wrote:
Oystein wrote:You bring up an interesting topic, but reveal your biases early on.

I know! Focusing on the Washington Post when the New York Times was leading the charge in Iraq war propaganda!


My recollection of what role each of the media giants played is vague about the run up to the Iraq invasion. I do recall the lies of Judith Miller, from the NYT who got her butt on the Sunday chat shows to peddle her swill to the TV watching non NYT readers.. I do recall almost no dissenting opinions getting air time and prominence of ANY SORT in the NYT. I remember Phil Donahue getting booted from the air for presenting dissenting views to the war. I didn't read WAPO back then and now don't read or watch any MSM (propaganda) organs.

Which media outlet had the most influence? Which ones were the most unethical? I'd say NBC and NYT.... and I don't doubt for a second they got marching orders from the pentagon who explained to them how personally lucrative the war would be for media people personal, for their portfolios and for their companies.

This was a very disgraceful and revealing period. It's hardly improved. And the Donald show was just another example of the media... especially broadcast and cable whoring / pimping for cash.

The fourth estate has lost its way and has been a major factor in the destruction of US democracy... WAY MORE than any other person in gov or outside.
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Re: Washington Post Conspiracy Theory: Russian Fake News

Postby Oystein » Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:28 pm

SanderO wrote:...
My recollection of what role each of the media giants played is vague about the run up to the Iraq invasion. I do recall the lies of Judith Miller, from the NYT who got her butt on the Sunday chat shows to peddle her swill to the TV watching non NYT readers.. I do recall almost no dissenting opinions getting air time and prominence of ANY SORT in the NYT. I remember Phil Donahue getting booted from the air for presenting dissenting views to the war. I didn't read WAPO back then and now don't read or watch any MSM (propaganda) organs.

Did you get a great deal of dissenting opinions from any other major newspapers, magazines or TV networks? Or from House Reps or Senators, for that matter?
Not being in the USA, I did not have first hand experience of the media there at the time, and anyway I would be certain to recall with great imprecision. Having said that, I do claim it is slightly foolish to single out two papers as THE news outlets that led the charge. Media dynamics don't work that simplisticly.

SanderO wrote:... and I don't doubt for a second they got marching orders from the pentagon who explained to them how personally lucrative the war would be for media people personal, for their portfolios and for their companies. ...

Is that your personal imagination, or would you have any evidence for this?

Again, media dynamics, nor propaganda, don't work that simplicitly. I read my Herman/Chomsky long before 9/11. Sure, the government (POTUS, Pentagon, State, ...) has its press departments and creates much of the news and of the opinion that the news companies print and air, but they don't do it by telling the press directly. This is a comic version of how news rooms work and are worked.
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Re: Washington Post Conspiracy Theory: Russian Fake News

Postby Oystein » Thu Dec 08, 2016 9:33 pm

OneWhiteEye wrote:
Oystein wrote:You bring up an interesting topic, but reveal your biases early on.

I know! Focusing on the Washington Post when the New York Times was leading the charge in Iraq war propaganda!

I can't decide whether you just doubled or halved the caricature[*] by singling out a second news company.


[*] I tried to come up with a better word for 2 minutes, but couldn't find it. Multiplying "caricature" doesn't make good sense; it would with the evasive word I am looking for... :(
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Re: Washington Post Conspiracy Theory: Russian Fake News

Postby SanderO » Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:02 pm

Oystein wrote:
SanderO wrote:...

Is that your personal imagination, or would you have any evidence for this?

Again, media dynamics, nor propaganda, don't work that simplicitly. I read my Herman/Chomsky long before 9/11. Sure, the government (POTUS, Pentagon, State, ...) has its press departments and creates much of the news and of the opinion that the news companies print and air, but they don't do it by telling the press directly. This is a comic version of how news rooms work and are worked.



I am not a lawyer and I am not assembling evidence to make a case. This is simply an informal discussion. I don't read all major papers, watch all networks and so on... You can contact FAIR

http://fair.org/

that's what they do...

They sure did tell Judith MIller directly...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Miller

You think she was the only intel plant inside the media????????????????????????????

I have a few nice bridges for sale.
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Re: Washington Post Conspiracy Theory: Russian Fake News

Postby Major_Tom » Fri Dec 09, 2016 12:10 am

Oystein wrote:Having said that, I do claim it is slightly foolish to single out two papers as THE news outlets that led the charge. Media dynamics don't work that simplisticly.




There is no need to single out 2 papers.

From the Norman Solomon article linked earlier:

But many mainline journalists and outlets jumped at the chance to amplify the Post’s piece of work. A sampling of the cheers from prominent journalists and liberal partisans was published by FAIR.org under the apt headline “Why Are Media Outlets Still Citing Discredited ‘Fake News’ Blacklist?”

FAIR’s media analyst Adam Johnson cited enthusiastic responses to the bogus story from journalists like Bloomberg’s Sahil Kupar and MSNBC’s Joy Reid -- and such outlets as USA Today, Gizmodo, the PBS NewsHour, The Daily Beast, Slate, AP, The Verge and NPR, which “all uncritically wrote up the Post’s most incendiary claims with little or minimal pushback.” On the MSNBC site, the Rachel Maddow Show's blog "added another breathless write-up hours later, repeating the catchy talking point that ‘it was like Russia was running a super PAC for Trump’s campaign.'”


We are able to watch meme propagation of a conspiracy theory through many news outlets in real time. It is happening right now so there is no need to argue while we can sit back and watch the dynamics unfold.

The memes are moving through multiple sources. A sampling of the sources and their specific comments are available in an article mentioned in the quote titled, “Why Are Media Outlets Still Citing Discredited ‘Fake News’ Blacklist?” which can be read at this link.
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Re: Washington Post Conspiracy Theory: Russian Fake News

Postby Major_Tom » Fri Dec 09, 2016 12:51 am

Oystein wrote:
Again, media dynamics, nor propaganda, don't work that simplicitly. I read my Herman/Chomsky long before 9/11.


Again, let us watch the dynamics in action with this example of mainstream media outlets promoting a conspiracy theory like they are singing in the same choir.

From the Greenwald article:

This Post report was one of the most widely circulated political news articles on social media over the last 48 hours, with dozens, perhaps hundreds, of U.S. journalists and pundits with large platforms hailing it as an earth-shattering exposé. It was the most-read piece on the entire Post website on Friday after it was published.


On PropOrNot Greenwald writes:

In other words, the website conflates criticism of Western governments and their actions and policies with Russian propaganda. News sites that do not uncritically echo a pro-NATO perspective are accused of being mouthpieces for the Kremlin, even if only unwitting ones.

While blacklisting left-wing and libertarian journalists, PropOrNot also denies being McCarthyite. Yet it simultaneously calls for the U.S. government to use the FBI and DOJ to carry out “formal investigations” of these accused websites, “because the kind of folks who make propaganda for brutal authoritarian oligarchies are often involved in a wide range of bad business.” The shadowy group even goes so far as to claim that people involved in the blacklisted websites may “have violated the Espionage Act, the Foreign Agent Registration Act, and other related laws.”

In sum: They’re not McCarthyite; perish the thought. They just want multiple U.S. media outlets investigated by the FBI for espionage on behalf of Russia.



The Post itself — now posing as a warrior against “fake news” — published an article in September that treated with great seriousness the claim that Hillary Clinton collapsed on 9/11 Day because she was poisoned by Putin. And that’s to say nothing of the paper’s disgraceful history of convincing Americans that Saddam was building non-existent nuclear weapons and had cultivated a vibrant alliance with al Qaeda. As is so often the case, those who mostly loudly warn of “fake news” from others are themselves the most aggressive disseminators of it.

Indeed, what happened here is the essence of fake news.
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Re: Washington Post Conspiracy Theory: Russian Fake News

Postby OneWhiteEye » Fri Dec 09, 2016 1:43 am

Oystein wrote:
OneWhiteEye wrote:
Oystein wrote:You bring up an interesting topic, but reveal your biases early on.

I know! Focusing on the Washington Post when the New York Times was leading the charge in Iraq war propaganda!

I can't decide whether you just doubled or halved the caricature[*] by singling out a second news company.

Root-mean-square?

I'll stop being cagey. No, I won't. I met a guy who emigrated from Poland after the Solidarity thing. This was the 90's and he'd been in the US about a decade. He told me how funny the difference was between east-bloc communist media and US media, or rather the citizenry. He said the media in Poland was riddled with propaganda, but everyone knew it. Here, the media is also riddled with propaganda, but no knows or believes it.

I always find it odd when someone steps in to take exception to a comment which is 100% non-controversial with anyone in possession of an IQ exceeding two digits.
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Re: Washington Post Conspiracy Theory: Russian Fake News

Postby Major_Tom » Fri Dec 09, 2016 2:28 am

OneWhiteEye wrote:
I always find it odd when someone steps in to take exception to a comment which is 100% non-controversial with anyone in possession of an IQ exceeding two digits.


And it isn't hard to see where this is going.

Parry from the 11-18 article:

Major Internet companies, such as Google and Facebook, are being urged to censor such articles and to punish alleged violators. Also, teams of supposedly “responsible” news providers and technology giants are being assembled to police this alleged problem and decide what is true and what is not.


But therein lies the more serious problem: who gets to decide what is real and what is not real? And – in an age when all sides propagate propaganda – when does conformity in support of a mainstream “truth” become censorship of reasonable skepticism?


The thought police.


Parry:
I personally hate “conspiracy theories” in which people speculate about a topic without real evidence and often in defiance of actual evidence. I believe in traditional journalistic standards of cross-checking data and applying common sense.


Me too, Bob! That is why I've assembled the most accurate mappings on the WTC tower collapses on the planet instead of guessing, using arm-chair physics, and uncritically believing in whatever the NIST tells me like you did in your articles on the subject.

But no hard feelings. I like Robert Parry and some of the writers that appear on his website. But the MSM loves a good conspiracy theory and feeds off of it as much as anyone they criticize for doing so, sometimes with dangerous consequences.

Why dangerous? Does anyone know the death toll in Iraq? It is hard to get an accurate number through all the fake estimates. It is also hard to get an accurate history of the war through all revisionism.

Or what about Google controlling what we can see online? Dangerous? Not if you have a melon for a brain.
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Re: Washington Post Conspiracy Theory: Russian Fake News

Postby SanderO » Fri Dec 09, 2016 12:17 pm

Is fake news "spin" on steroids... or is it a completely different animal?

Or is spin a mild form of fake news?

Where is the line between spin (PR) and fake news and lying/ intentional deception?
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Re: Washington Post Conspiracy Theory: Russian Fake News

Postby Oystein » Sat Dec 10, 2016 2:53 pm

Major_Tom wrote:...
Again, let us watch the dynamics in action with this example of mainstream media outlets promoting a conspiracy theory like they are singing in the same choir.

From the Greenwald article:
...

You lost track of what I was jumping on - your biased propaganda claim (I paraphrase) "the WaPo, the paper that brought you the Iraq war". It's telling that you didn't address what I claimed. Guess I was right.
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