|(graphic by Kat Garcia)|
When going about the miserable job of exposing so-called fake news outlets (translation: any outlet either fairly or unfairly critical of the defeated Hillary Clinton as well as US foreign policy) it's always best to do your dirty work anonymously. You see, if the Russian puppet-masters controlling even such popular progressive American sites as Truthout and Naked Capitalism ever discern your true identity, you run the risk of getting rubbed out by a KGB agent in one of the dark alleys connecting the impulses of your paranoid little mind.
Therefore, in a craven attempt to stifle dissent, to damage lives and livelihoods, and to drum up the loudest possible publicity while still protecting your cowardly hide, you slap up an amateurish website called PropOrNot, and then you shop around your McCarthyesque list of 200 undesirable Internet news sites to the mainstream media.
And miracle of miracles - a huge billionaire-owned corporate publication called The Washington Post agrees not only to publish your fraud about fakery wrapped up in fiction, but to protect your identity in the bargain. It's the exact same way that establishment mouthpieces always protect the identities of powerful establishment figures whenever there's a war to be ginned up, or a political opponent to be smeared. You really must be someone special, or at least work for something, or someone, that is very special.
No matter that your brand-new site was exposed as a fraud and fake in its own right within a matter of hours. Who cares? Your damage has already been done. Your List of Enemy News Sites and enemy journalists continues to be Tweeted and re-Tweeted across the world millions of times. It is still the most popular news item on The Post. Even "respectable" journalists and politicians who otherwise wouldn't have touched your ridiculous smear job of a story with a ten-foot pole have no qualms at all about helpfully and gleefully spreading its nastiness. After all, if the establishment Post saw fit to print it first, serious people certainly are under no obligation to exert either their minds or their moral compasses.
Genuinely incensed at reaction to WaPo/Russian disinfo story. WE WATCHED THIS HAPPEN IN REAL TIME. Specific ways it was done, vectors, etc.
Paul Krugman Retweeted Josh Marshall
Yes, yes, yes. Putin role was obvious to everyone except people getting their news from email-obsessed media.***
Dan Pfeiffer is the former communications director for Barack Obama, who got the whole "Fake News" ball rolling during his farewell tour of the world last week. Obama is a lot like the anonymous operators of PropOrNot: when he sent out his own press releases of himself touring Athens, he deliberately left out the part where 7,000 demonstrators protested his arrival and in return were tear-gassed and beaten by police for daring to exercise democracy in the birthplace of democracy.Why isn't this the biggest story in the world right now?
And Paul Krugman should talk. His own work has been regularly published on at least one of the respected progressive sites that PropOrNot has deemed to be "fake news."
We still don't know the identities of the person or persons behind PropOrNot, but judging from the earnestly juvenile quality of the site's rhetoric as well as the asinine quality of their Tweets, I suspect that a gaggle of recent college grads with a major in Safe Spaces were in need of work after their last gig at a certain campaign HQ in Brooklyn. Or maybe it's a couple of refugees from the "Correct the Record" SuperPac run by that other Clintonoid master of agitprop, David Brock of Media Matters.
The PropOrNotters sound like they come from a political oppo research shop, not from a think tank full of credentialed professionals volunteering their time and intellects for the greater public good. Their latest update, for example, consists of a clip of comedienne Samantha Bee showing what Russian propaganda trolls "look and sound like in real life."
When you visit the site, you're told that your first assignment in "fighting back" against the malign forces of outside-the-Beltway independent journalism is to watch Samantha Bee (a Hillary supporter) on television.
Because whether you know it or not, you are the victims of an orchestrated Russian campaign to eat your brains for breakfast.
Without even a hint of irony in light of the fact that its own anonymous propaganda was unquestioningly parroted by the Washington Post, PropOrNot accuses such independent sites as CounterPunch and Truthdig of undermining the work of consolidated, corporate-owned news organizations:
These (independent) sites have US audiences estimated in the millions, parrot Russian state-owned propaganda, and relentlessly attack the important investigative work done by actual American journalists.PropOrNot no doubt views such relentlessly and righteously attacked hacks as Thomas Friedman and David Brooks and Charles Krauthammer as "actual American journalists."
There are more proper, preferred sources of information to help manufacture your consent. PropOrNot urges you to consume their corporate content and also to send them some of your money:
- Spread the word: Russia is attempting to manipulate the American people through online propaganda.
- Obtain news from actual reporters, who report to an editor and are professionally accountable for mistakes. We suggest NPR, the BBC, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, Buzzfeed, VICE, etc, and especially your local papers and local TV news channels. Support them by subscribing, if you can!
- Familiarize yourself with this project, at www.propornot.com, and especially our Introduction, Frequently Asked Questions, and Manual Propaganda Analysis example, so you can practice distinguishing between Russian propaganda and actual news for yourself.
When I Googled Merry Levov, I discovered that she was the bomb-throwing lefty extremist in Philip Roth's American Pastoral. In other words, a fictional character.
So, given the amateur verbiage on the PropOrNot site itself, I wouldn't be surprised if the self-proclaimed credentialed volunteers from the analytics and national security worlds turn out to be nothing but low-level political hacks in disguise. The very fact that they offer ridiculous, pseudo-scientific methods to detect Russian propaganda is one clue. So is their frequent politician-speak use of the word "folks."
If they truly were such powerful "experts" at the highest levels of the Deep State, and not paranoid trolls sitting in front of a basement computer, would they be sending out silly Tweets like this?