When the Washington Post published a story titled, “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say” on Nov. 24, it acted as if it had found the perfect link between Russia and fake news—all backed up by citing “experts.”
The only problem is that one of the story’s main sources was PropOrNot, which the Post described as “a group that insists on public anonymity.”This mysterious, anonymous group claimed to have created the “master list” of over 200 websites that were promoting Russian propaganda.
While most mainstream media took the list as the gospel, several of the websites mentioned on it criticized the validity of the group and the story itself.
As a result, the Post added an “Editor’s note” to the top of the story, in which it claimed that the Washington Post “does not itself vouch for the validity of PropOrNot’s findings regarding any individual media outlet, nor did the article purport to do so. Since publication of The Post’s story, PropOrNot has removed some sites from its list.”
One might think that after the publication’s credibility was called into question for using an anonymous group to justify a propaganda hit-piece that claimed to be calling out “real” propaganda, the Post would take a break… right?
Yet the campaign continued this week…
The Washington Post published a story Tuesday targeting Russia Today, titled, “How Ed Schultz transformed from MSNBC lefty to the American face of Moscow media.”
The piece looks at how Schultz went from being a fan of Hillary Clinton and calling Donald Trump a racist on MSNBC, to criticizing reports of Russian hacking and U.S. involvement in Aleppo on RT America.
The main problem with the story is that while it does note the changes Schultz has made, it seems to blame them entirely on the Kremlin. It also acts as if while Schultz was at MSNBC, he was a model citizen—how dare he change his views and his workplace?
The story completely ignores the fact that this “character change” happens all the time. What about all of the times mainstream media networks hire former lobbyists and politicians? What about when disgraced Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowksi was hired by CNN? Instead of criticizing the move, the Washington Post published a story claiming reporters at CNN saw Lewandowski as “an asset to the network’s campaign coverage.”
Also on Tuesday, Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum posted a story titled, “I was a victim of a Russian smear campaign. I understand the power of fake news.” The most glaring problem with this article is show in the first two sentences:
“We were told in June that the Democratic National Committee had been hacked by Russians. We were told in October that material subsequently passed on to WikiLeaks came from the same source.”
They were told? By whom? The story links to another WaPo article from June 14, “Russian government hackers penetrated DNC, stole opposition research on Trump.” The problem with this story is that it cites “committee officials and security experts who responded to the breach.”
The problem with these so-called experts is that they are completely anonymous.
This begs the question: If there was a security expert who discovered links to Russian hacking, wouldn’t he/she be the almighty hero of the agency? Wouldn’t President parade the expert around and reward him/her with medal of freedom for finally finding links between our fragile system and the evil Russians?