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Old January 4th, 2017, 02:41 PM   #1
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WaPo Rewarded for False News about Russia Threat

WashPost Is Richly Rewarded for False News About Russia Threat While Public Is Deceived



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In the past six weeks, the Washington Post published two blockbuster stories about the Russian threat that went viral: one on how Russia is behind a massive explosion of “fake news,” the other on how it invaded the U.S. electric grid. Both articles were fundamentally false. Each now bears a humiliating editor’s note grudgingly acknowledging that the core claims of the story were fiction: The first note was posted a full two weeks later to the top of the original article; the other was buried the following day at the bottom.

The second story on the electric grid turned out to be far worse than I realized when I wrote about it on Saturday, when it became clear that there was no “penetration of the U.S. electricity grid” as the Post had claimed. In addition to the editor’s note, the Russia-hacked-our-electric-grid story now has a full-scale retraction in the form of a separate article admitting that “the incident is not linked to any Russian government effort to target or hack the utility” and there may not even have been malware at all on this laptop.

But while these debacles are embarrassing for the paper, they are also richly rewarding. That’s because journalists — including those at the Post — aggressively hype and promote the original, sensationalistic false stories, ensuring that they go viral, generating massive traffic for the Post (the paper’s executive editor, Marty Baron, recently boasted about how profitable the paper has become).

After spreading the falsehoods far and wide, raising fear levels and manipulating U.S. political discourse in the process (both Russia stories were widely hyped on cable news), journalists who spread the false claims subsequently note the retraction or corrections only in the most muted way possible, and often not at all. As a result, only a tiny fraction of people who were exposed to the original false story end up learning of the retractions.

Baron himself, editorial leader of the Post, is a perfect case study in this irresponsible tactic. It was Baron who went to Twitter on the evening of November 24 to announce the Post’s exposé of the enormous reach of Russia’s fake news operation, based on what he heralded as the findings of “independent researchers.” Baron’s tweet went all over the place; to date, it has been re-tweeted more than 3,000 times, including by many journalists with their own large followings:
Russian propaganda effort helped spread fake news during election, say independent researchers https://t.co/3ETVXWw16Q

— Marty Baron (@PostBaron) November 25, 2016
But after that story faced a barrage of intense criticism — from Adrian Chen in the New Yorker (“propaganda about Russia propaganda”), Matt Taibbi in Rolling Stone (“shameful, disgusting”), my own article, and many others — including legal threats from the sites smeared as Russian propaganda outlets by the Post’s “independent researchers” — the Post finally added its lengthy editor’s note distancing itself from the anonymous group that provided the key claims of its story (“The Post … does not itself vouch for the validity of PropOrNot’s findings” and “since publication of the Post’s story, PropOrNot has removed some sites from its list”).

What did Baron tell his followers about this editor’s note that gutted the key claims of the story he hyped? Nothing. Not a word. To date, he has been publicly silent about these revisions. Having spread the original claims to tens of thousands of people, if not more, he took no steps to ensure that any of them heard about the major walk back on the article’s most significant, inflammatory claims. He did, however, ironically find the time to promote a different Post story about how terrible and damaging Fake News is:
‘Pizzagate’ shows how fake news hurts real people https://t.co/cOh7RZ4RqK

— Marty Baron (@PostBaron) November 26, 2016
Whether the Post’s false stories here can be distinguished from what is commonly called “Fake News” is, at this point, a semantic dispute, particularly since “Fake News” has no cogent definition. Defenders of Fake News as a distinct category typically emphasize intent in order to differentiate it from bad journalism. That’s really just a way of defining Fake News so as to make it definitionally impossible for mainstream media outlets like the Post ever to be guilty of it (much the way terrorism is defined to ensure that the U.S. government and its allies cannot, by definition, ever commit it).

But what was the Post’s motive in publishing two false stories about Russia that, very predictably, generated massive attention, traffic, and political impact? Was it ideological and political — namely, devotion to the D.C. agenda of elevating Russia into a grave threat to U.S. security? Was it to please its audience — knowing that its readers, in the wake of Trump’s victory, want to be fed stories about Russian treachery? Was it access and source servitude — proving it will serve as a loyal and uncritical repository for any propaganda intelligence officials want disseminated? Was it profit — to generate revenue through sensationalistic click-bait headlines with a reckless disregard to whether its stories are true? In an institution as large as the Post, with numerous reporters and editors participating in these stories, it’s impossible to identify any one motive as definitive.

...

https://theintercept.com/2017/01/04/...c-is-deceived/



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Old January 4th, 2017, 02:43 PM   #2
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The fake news meme is really kicking mainstream media in the pants.
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Old January 4th, 2017, 03:15 PM   #3
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How deep does the hole have to be before WaPo stops shoveling?
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Old January 4th, 2017, 03:22 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by caconservative View Post
How deep does the hole have to be before WaPo stops shoveling?


Must need to be pretty deep. Fox Nation keeps digging and has for years. Funny though how their lies--errrr FAKE NEWS-- never bothered the Right.
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Old January 4th, 2017, 04:22 PM   #5
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The subject is the WaPo / MSM, aka the left-hand of the Democrat Party, and not the Progs obsession with FOX News.

The MSM beating the drums of.... over Russia with fake news fed to them from the Øbama White House. A very current event. And now Øbama has put Special Ops forces in Lithuania. Making an even bigger mess for the next POTUS to clean up.

Lithuania confirms presence of US special forces as a ‘deterrence against Russian aggression’



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Old January 4th, 2017, 05:48 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by excalibur View Post
The subject is the WaPo / MSM, aka the left-hand of the Democrat Party, and not the Progs obsession with FOX News.

The MSM beating the drums of.... over Russia with fake news fed to them from the Øbama White House. A very current event. And now Øbama has put Special Ops forces in Lithuania. Making an even bigger mess for the next POTUS to clean up.

Lithuania confirms presence of US special forces as a ‘deterrence against Russian aggression’


That's a really weird post ex. You chide Clara for going off topic, and then you bring up special forces in Lithuania ... a story from your favorite Russian news source, RT, btw.

The WaPo is the print version of MSNBC. I thought everyone knew that.
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Old January 4th, 2017, 05:53 PM   #7
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And since you took your thread off topic, it's good to note that the Russians have been actively attempting to provoke the Baltic States, routinely flying in their airspaces.
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Old January 4th, 2017, 08:36 PM   #8
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And since you took your thread off topic, it's good to note that the Russians have been actively attempting to provoke the Baltic States, routinely flying in their airspaces.
Russia should get the non-countries of the Baltic states but in return they must return Kaliningrad to Germany.
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Old January 4th, 2017, 08:40 PM   #9
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And since you took your thread off topic, it's good to note that the Russians have been actively attempting to provoke the Baltic States, routinely flying in their airspaces.
Thats terrible! The Baltic States should do something about that!
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Old January 4th, 2017, 10:06 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by imaginethat View Post
That's a really weird post ex. You chide Clara for going off topic, and then you bring up special forces in Lithuania ... a story from your favorite Russian news source, RT, btw.

I deliberately chose RT as a source these past few days just for you, haven't used them much before. But back to the point, you can show us where this news is not factual regarding Lithuania?


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