WaPo Is Subverting Democracy

Jeff Bezos, Amazon honcho who now runs the Washington Post, declared early in the election that he and his newspaper would do everything they could to bring down Donald Trump.

They failed spectacularly, but that doesn’t mean Bezos has given up. Au contraire, he has rededicated himself to the cause in a way that Inspector Javert pursuing Jean Valjean would admire.

Now he’s trying to undermine the election by posturing that Russian hackers had a hand in the Trump victory.

This is too much even for Glenn Greenwald, darling of liberal sites Salon and the British Guardian newspaper. He looked into the smear and wrote this:

“The Washington Post on Thursday night promoted the claims of a new, shadowy organization that smears dozens of U.S. news sites that are critical of U.S. foreign policy as being ‘routine peddlers of Russian propaganda.’ The article by reporter Craig Timberg – headlined “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say” – cites a report by a new, anonymous website calling itself PropOrNot, which claims that millions of Americans have been deceived this year in a massive Russian ‘misinformation campaign.’

“The group’s list of Russian disinformation outlets includes WikiLeaks and the Drudge Report, as well as Clinton-critical left-wing websites such as Truthout, Black Agenda Report, Truthdig and Naked Capitalism, as well as libertarian venues such as Antiwar.com and the Ron Paul Institute.

“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 after it was published on Friday.

“Yet the article is rife with obviously reckless and unproven allegations, and fundamentally shaped by shoddy, slothful journalistic tactics. It was not surprising to learn that, as BuzzFeed’s Sheera Frenkel noted, ‘a lot of reporters passed on this story.’ Its huge flaws are self-evident. But the Post gleefully ran with it and then promoted it aggressively, led by its Executive Editor Marty Baron.

“In casting the group behind this website as ‘experts,’ the Post described PropOrNot simply as ‘a nonpartisan collection of researchers with foreign policy, military and technology backgrounds.’ Not one individual at the organization is named. The executive director is quoted, but only on the condition of anonymity, which the Post said it was providing the group ‘to avoid being targeted by Russia’s legions of skilled hackers.’

“In other words, the individuals behind this newly created group are publicly branding journalists and news outlets as tools of Russian propaganda – even calling on the FBI to investigate them for espionage – while cowardly hiding their own identities. The group promoted by the Post thus embodies the toxic essence of Joseph McCarthy but without the courage to attach their names to their blacklist. Echoing the Wisconsin Senator, the group refers to its lengthy collection of sites spouting Russian propaganda as The List.

“The credentials of this supposed group of experts are impossible to verify, as none is provided either by the Post or by the group itself. The Intercept contacted PropOrNot and asked numerous questions about about its team, but received only this reply: ‘We’re getting a lot of requests for comment and can get back to you today =) [smiley face emoticon].’ The group added: ‘We’re over 30 people, organized into teams, and we cannot confirm or deny anyone’s involvement.’

“Thus far, they have provided no additional information beyond that. As Fortune’s Matthew Ingram wrote in criticizing the Post article, PropOrNot’s Twitter account ‘has only existed since August of this year. And an article announcing the launch of the group on its website is dated last month.’ WHOIS information for the domain name is not available, as the website uses private registration.

“More troubling still, PropOrNot listed numerous organizations on its website as ‘allied’ with it, yet many of these claimed ‘allies’ told The Intercept, and complained on social media, they have nothing to do with the group and had never even heard of it before the Post published its story.

“At some point last night, after multiple groups listed as ‘allies’ objected, the group quietly changed the title of its allied list to ‘Related Projects.” When The Intercept asked PropOrNot about this clear inconsistency via email, the group responded concisely: “We have no institutional affiliations with any organization.’

“In his article, the Post’s Timberg did not include a link to PropOrNot’s website. If readers had the opportunity to visit the site, it would have become instantly apparent that this group of ostensible experts far more resembles amateur peddlers of primitive, shallow propagandistic clichés than serious, substantive analysis and expertise; that it has a blatant, demonstrable bias in promoting NATO’s narrative about the world; and that it is engaging in extremely dubious McCarthyite tactics about a wide range of critics and dissenters.

“The Washington Post should be very proud: it staked a major part of its news story on the unverified, untestable assertions of this laughable organization.”

You can read the rest of this takedown here: https://theintercept.com/2016/11/26/washington-post-disgracefully-promotes-a-mccarthyite-blacklist-from-a-new-hidden-and-very-shady-group/, but just this reading shows how preposterous this story is.

It prompted another blog ZeroHedge, to comment that the WaPo reporters are “useful idiot shills for a failed, frantic status quo that has lost control of the narrative. He goes on to site expert, Charles Hugh-Smith OfTwoMinds blog’s equally pointed takedown:

“Don’t you think it fair and reasonable that anyone accusing me of being a shill for Russian propaganda ought to read my ten books in their entirety and identify the sections that support their slanderous accusation?

“I was amused to find my site listed on the now-infamous list of purportedly Russian-controlled propaganda sites cited by The Washington Post. I find it amusing because I invite anyone to search my 3,600-page archive of published material over the past decade (which includes some guest posts and poems) and identify a single pro-Russia or pro-Russian foreign policy entry.

“If anything, my perspective is pro-US dollar, pro-liberty, pro-open markets, pro-local control, pro-free-press, pro-innovation, and pro-opportunities to rebuild America’s abandoned, decaying localized economies: in other words, the exact opposite of Russian propaganda.

“My ‘crime’ is a simple one: challenging the ruling elite’s narrative. Labeling all dissent “enemy propaganda” is of course the classic first phase of state-sponsored propaganda and the favorite tool of well-paid illiberal apologists for an illiberal regime.

“Labeling everyone who dissents or questions the ruling elite’s narrative as tools of an enemy power is classic McCarthy-era witch-hunting, i.e. a broad-brush way of marginalizing and silencing critics with an accusation that is easy to fabricate but difficult to prove.

“Such unsupported slander is a classic propaganda technique. It has more in common with Nazi propaganda than with real journalism.

“The real useful-idiot shills are the editors and hacks paid by the Washington Post, who are busy penning articles such as “Why the electoral college should choose Hillary Clinton”. Isn’t this fundamentally a call to over-ride the Constitutional framework of the republic’s democracy?

“In other words, the ruling elite’s candidate lost, so let’s subvert democracy to “right this terrible wrong” that was wrought by fed-up debt-serfs.

“Substitution is a useful technique to reveal propaganda: if Trump had lost by a thin margin, would the The Washington Post publish an article ‘Why the electoral college should choose Donald Trump’?

“Any site suggesting such an outlandish subversion of American democracy would of course by labeled Russian-controlled propaganda by The Washington Post. In other words, it’s OK for the organs of Imperial Propaganda to call for the subversion of the Constitution, but if someone else dares to do so, you know the drill: they’re labeled a tool of Russian propaganda.

“Just as a reminder, this is the status quo/ruling elite’s handiwork. The Washington Post shills/propagandists support: a status quo of institutionalized privilege, corruption and systemically soaring wealth and income inequality:

“The institutionalized impoverishment of non-elite students:

“The institutionalized impoverishment of the bottom 99.9%:

The institutionalized impoverishment of everyone below the protected technocrat-insider class of shills, apparatchiks and professionals:

“This is what The Washington Post is pushing: a parasitic, predatory, exploitative, ruinously corrupt and venal ruling class and its army of apologists/lackeys/factotums.

“The fundamental source of the Post’s hysterical accusations is the ruling elite has lost control of the narrative. This is the source of the mainstream media’s angst-tinged hysteria and frantic efforts to marginalize and discredit any dissenting narratives that undermine or question the power of a corrupted, self-serving ruling elite that has failed the nation and its citizens.

“This is why Donald Trump was routinely labeled a Russian shill by the mainstream media during the campaign. Regardless of what you think of Trump or Clinton, what can we say about a supposedly responsible media that so cavalierly spews fact-free accusations of foreign control? This is the height of irresponsible propaganda being passed off as journalism.

“Free speech implicitly carries the responsibility of the reader/listener/viewer to make a critical assessment of the content, its source and its aim: who benefits if we accept the narrative being pushed?

“The delicious irony of The Washington Post’s hysterical campaign to smear dissenters as tools of Russian propaganda is that it only serves to discredit the Post itself. For my part, I invite you to read all ten of my books and make your own critical assessment of the content and answer these questions:

1. Did you find even a single passage in the thousands of pages that favored Russian policies?

2. Did you find any passages that favored domestic resilience and self-reliance, localized economic development, and the promotion of innovations that favored the many rather than the few?

3. Don’t you think it fair and reasonable that anyone accusing me of being a shill for Russian propaganda ought to read my ten books in their entirety and identify the sections that support their slanderous accusation?”

Evidently facts and truth are something the Washington Post doesn’t want to acknowledge. How about a Deep Throat there come out and expose them? That would be the ultimate irony.

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