There are two transparent aims behind the establishment Big Media’s hysterical alarm over “fake news”: 1) to delegitimize Trump’s election and undermine his presidency; and 2) to demonize conservative and anti-globalist media websites as a precursor to outright censorship.
The liberal-left establishment media cartel can’t let go of their stupendous defeat on November 8. They have been trying to explain (to us, themselves, and the universe) how all their oracular omniscience could have gone so horribly wrong, how they (as Hillary Rodham Clinton surrogates) could have been so thoroughly repudiated. In the immediate aftermath of their horrendous humiliation, many of them adopted Van Jones’ claim on CNN that Donald Trump’s victory could only be explained as “Whitelash,” an expression of systemic racism by American voters. That, of course, fit the narrative that many of the media talking heads and scribblers had been flogging for months. America, they insist, is brimming with dumb, old, angry white males who are racists, sexists, misogynists, anti-semites, xenophobes, homophobes, etc. — and that’s who defeated Hillary and elected Donald!
But, to their dismay, the Clinton media choir soon discovered that, despite their non-stop demonization of the celebrity mogul, despite him being vastly outspent (and, yes, despite some of his stupid, insensitive hoof-in-mouth remarks), Trump did surprisingly well among the voter demographics they were so positive Hillary had a sure lock-hold on: women, blacks, Hispanics, college-educated whites, and young adults. So, an alternative explanation had to be concocted. Trump’s triumph could only be explained as the result of foreign propaganda: It was Putin’s KGB/FSB propaganda organs operating through fake websites, blogs, and Internet trolls that boosted Trump to the White House with fake stories such as “Pope Francis Endorses Trump,” and “Proof Hillary is a Humanoid Reptilian Shapeshifter.” Hence, the “fake news” meme was born, the media-approved conspiracy theory from the folks who reflexively condemn as a loony “conspiracy theory” any and every effort by any of the rest of us (no matter how well documented and logically argued) to expose genuine collusion and conspiracy in high places.
In statements after the election, President Obama warned against the threat to democracy posed by “outright lies,” “active misinformation,” “propaganda,” and a “dust cloud of nonsense” on the Internet. Hillary Clinton declared an “epidemic of malicious fake news and false propaganda,” is putting “our democracy and innocent lives" at risk.
For the past several weeks, NBC, CNN, the New York Times, et al, have run with the “fake news” meme, puffing breathless reports about the supposed impact that clever teenagers in Macedonia (such as “Dmitri” in the town of Veles) and a 52-year-old, pro-Putin, “far right” activist in Britain (James Dowson) had on stealing the election from Clinton and delivering it to Trump by posting online fabricated stories that went viral on Facebook. This is a parallel track that the pro-Clinton media have been attempting to build next to the unsubstantiated claim that Putin’s intel guys (KGB/FSB/SVR) hacked the e-mails and computers of Team Clinton and the Democratic National Committee in order to put Trump in the White House. Both of these tracks are desperate attempts aimed at delegitimizing and de-electing Donald Trump, running in tandem with efforts (by the same anti-Trump media) to subvert and delegitimize the Electoral College and promote the theme that the election was stolen from Clinton, since she (allegedly) won the popular vote.
However, it quickly became apparent that the “fake news” excuse being offered for the Clinton loss/Trump win was itself fake news perpetrated by the master crafters of fake news: the Big Media, whose surefire candidate had spectacularly lost. Yes, there actually are phony “news” websites in Macedonia and elsewhere run by young entrepreneurs who rake in cash by cranking out click-bait stories with outrageous titles and sham content. And, yes, some of them are tilted in favor of Putin and/or Trump. But did they have any kind of measurable (let alone decisive) impact on the election? The “fake news” alarmists have provided no evidence to justify these fears. But that has not deterred the New York Times, Washington Post, and the rest of the fake news chorus line from their pathetic attempt to turn the “fake news” story into a real news campaign.
The alarmists are also alarmed that so few Americans are responding to their “fake news” alarm. This rejection is reinforcing the verdict of multiple recent polls showing that public trust in the establishment media has tumbled to historic lows, to about what one would expect of a survey of Smurfs regarding evil Gargamel. The media elites are panicking because too many viewers and readers have figured out that the globalist “prestige press” have been packaging and foisting fake news for decades — and they have been repudiating and abandoning the controlled media in droves.
In a piece entitled “Conservatives Get 'Fake News' All Wrong," that appeared on December 21, U.S. News & World Report assistant managing editor Pat Garofalo directed a condescending lecture at critics who are calling out the media echo chamber on their “fake news” campaign. “Either because of ignorance or willful manipulation of the phrase,” contends Garofalo, “conservatives want to apply the label ‘fake news’” willy-nilly where it doesn’t belong. The subtitle to his article gives you the flavor of his argument: “'Fake News' Means Fake News: Don't let conservatives get away with slapping 'fake news' on opinions or analyses they just don't like.”
But we also cannot let polemicists like Garofalo get away with the canard that the establishment media’s critics are (ignorantly or disingenuously) falsely slapping the “fake news” label on mere “opinions or analyses they just don't like.” Peter Hasson, reporter and associate editor at the conservative website The Daily Caller (dailycaller.com), has ably pointed out how fake is the supposed threat from the “fake news” sites that are causing such fake angst among the media elites.
“Despite a media blitz portraying fake news sites as having a real impact in national politics — and even capable of affecting the outcome of a presidential election — fake news sites struggle to reach any sort of real audience,” Hasson notes. “Fake news site DenverGuardian.com, subject of coverage from the New York Times and the Washington Post, is ranked 91,688 in web traffic in the U.S., according to web analytics firm Alexa,” he continues. “To put that number in perspective: the site supposedly impacting the national political scene is more than 84,000 slots behind the website for a Virginia community college.”
Hasson observes that the New York Times devoted front-page coverage to a site called the “Patriot News Agency.” The Times’ story stated that “operators of Patriot News had an explicitly partisan motivation: getting Mr. Trump elected.” But Hasson notes that Patriot News Agency “is even less popular than the ‘Denver Guardian,’ ranking in at 184,898 in the country, according to Alexa. The site’s Facebook page has 113 total likes at this time.” Hardly an existential threat, and unworthy of collective handwringing, it would seem.
Hassan reports further:
Fake news site “MSNBC.com.co,” whose name meant to fool readers into confusing it with liberal network MSNBC, received mentions from the Washington Post and liberal website Vox.com, among others. But “MSNBC.com.co” reaches a tiny audience, according to Alexa’s data, which has the site ranked 549,714 in the United States.
The minuscule reach of fake news sites hasn’t kept the Times from running headlines like “As Fake News Spreads Lies, More Readers Shrug At The Truth” or “Media’s Next Challenge: Overcoming The Threat Of Fake News."
Smearing the Right as Russian Propagandists
Other media organizations are pushing the same alarmist line, with Vanity Fair, for example, running a story entitled “Did Russian Agents Influence The Election With Fake News?” Well, did they? The Vanity Fair article does little to enlighten us on that score, primarily serving to direct readers to the Washington Post’s November 24 story entitled “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say.” That WaPo article was the launch pad for an outfit that goes by the moniker “Is It Propaganda Or Not?” or "Propornot" (www.propornot.com).
Besides netting such well-known, official Russian propaganda sites as pravda.ru, rt.com (Russia Today), sputniknews.com, and rbth.com (Russia Beyond The Headlines), the Propornot dragnet also tars prominent conservative, libertarian, anti-globalist, anti-interventionist, anti-war websites as Putin propagandists. Their “red flag” list includes: antiwar.com, corbettreport.com, drudgereport.com, gatesofvienna.net, infowars.com, lewrockwell.com, naturalnews.com, newswithviews.com, ronpaulinstitute.org, theeconomiccollapseblog.com, vdare.com, wikileaks.org, and zerohedge.com, to name a few.
The Propornot website says it uses “a combination of manual and automated analysis, including analysis of content, timing, technical indicators, and other reporting, in order to initially identify (‘red-flag’)” over 200 websites as “Russian propaganda outlets.” That’s being rather vague about their criteria, methodology, and evidence, is it not? Moreover, the website has been unwilling to share its data for independent verification of the fairness and accuracy of its assessments. However, what is even worse is that Propornot’s so-called experts making these assessments are anonymous! We are not told who owns it, who funds it, who staffs it, or who conducts their research. Propornot says it is “an independent team of concerned American citizens with a wide range of backgrounds and expertise, including professional experience in computer science, statistics, public policy, and national security affairs.” We’re just supposed to take their word for it, along with their claim that their intent is to “strengthen our cultural immune systems against hostile influence and improve public discourse generally.” The Washington Post was fine with that, and saw no problem with promoting this shadowy group of no-name “experts” who refuse to provide evidence to back up their inflammatory and defamatory charges!
We can get some hint of the tilt of Propornot from the left-leaning websites it links to in a side column on its home page labeled “Related Projects” (although we are not told what the relationship is). The sites include: Snopes, Politifact, Fake News Watch, and Fort Liberty Hoax Sites. Some of these sites have lists similar to Propornot, and it is obvious that there is a lot of cross-pollination going on here. Fake News Watch, for instance, lists Snopes, Fort Liberty, and The New Republic as sources for its list of propaganda sites. The New Republic, of course, is the longest-running socialist, pro-communist magazine in America. More than 100 years old, it is infamous as a pro-Soviet Russia propaganda organ going back to the time of Lenin and Stalin, with one of its editors, Michael Straight, having been exposed as an actual longtime KGB agent. These are the "experts" we should trust to expose Russian propaganda?
Among those listed by Fort Liberty as “Web Sites Which Publish Fake News And Other Hoaxes” are many of the same sites targeted by Propornot and Fake News Watch. Also included on the Fort Liberty list is this magazine, The New American. But, naturally, Fort Liberty does not specify any fake news or hoaxes we have published. It is enough, they seem to believe (and hope) simply to smear with the accusation. Like Propornot, they hide behind an opaque shield of anonymity, providing no information about themselves. They do offer a few “author” names, but these are generic, (Arnold Vintner, Eric Smith, Jamal Washington, James, JCD, Jim MacDonald, Joe Rock, Melissa, Miguel Gonzalez, Will.Spencer) with no biographical information and no way to even verify that these are not simply Chip Berlet, Michael Moore, or some 350-pound pajama-clad socialist posting hit pieces from bed in his mother’s basement.
The one verifiable organization cited by the Washington Post as a source for its Russian propaganda alarm is the reliably globalist Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI), an off-shoot of the world government-promoting Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). The FPRI was founded in 1955 by Ambassador Robert Strauzs-Hupe (a CFR member), and its roster of scholars, speakers, advisers and trustees includes such CFR luminaries as Henry Kissinger, Robert Zoellick, Dov Zakheim, Robert C. McFarlane, Paul Bracken, Bernard Lewis, John Nagl, Kori Schake, Arthur I. Cyr, John F. Lehman, Arthur Waldron, and Howard Wiarda.
In other words, the FPRI is another section of the CFR new world order choir that has been attacking Trump relentlessly since the beginning of his campaign. So it is not surprising that they are continuing the attacks in the FPRI report cited by the Post, entitled “Trolling for Trump: How Russia Is Trying to Destroy Our Democracy.” This is especially rich coming from the New York Times and the Washington Post, both of which have printed and inserted copies of the Russia Beyond The Headlines supplements in their newspapers. Yes, that’s the same Russia Beyond The Headlines (rbth.com) that Propornot now red flags as Russian propaganda (which it is, and which we reported as such years ago, when the Times and Post began their publishing ventures with Comrade Putin).
For most of the past century, the Times, the Post, and the CFR think tank cabal have been the thought leaders among the internationalist cognoscenti promoting pro-Bolshevik, pro-Lenin, Pro-Stalin, pro-Khrushchev, pro-Brezhnev, pro-Gorbachev, pro-Putin propaganda. During that same period, they also have led the charge against authentic anti-communists, vilifying all who opposed their communist-capitalist convergence schemes (see here, here, and here) as “McCarthyites.”
In truth, the much-demonized Senator Joseph McCarthy was a heroic figure (see here, and here) who genuinely fought to protect this nation against the Soviet threat that the Times, Post, and CFR aided and abetted — over and over and over again. And, as we have repeatedly noted, these same internationalists that are attacking Trump for alleged sympathies, ties, and business dealings with the Kremlin have refused to explore and expose Hillary and Bill Clinton’s documented sympathies, ties, and business dealings with Putin’s regime.
To sum up, having failed to stop Trump on Election Day and Electoral College Day, the globalists and their Big Media echo chamber are trying to delegitimize and cripple him by claiming he was elected president of the United States due to foreign intervention, i.e., the influence of Putin’s propagandists. Simultaneously, they are trying to smear as Russian propaganda outlets all anti-globalist organizations and websites that have become important alternative news sources for tens of millions of awakening Americans. To do this, they are using opaque organizations operated by anonymous “experts” who refuse to provide evidence to back up their accusations, and a certified globalist think tank that hardly qualifies as an impartial source (and also fails to provide evidence to substantiate the “fake news,” “Russian propaganda” charges).
However, this latest frantic ploy by the one-world elites and their media shills may fail as dramatically as their futile efforts to Dump Trump and Kill the Brexit vote in Britain.
Even some of the usual liberal-left media voices are balking at taking up the Trump-is-a-Putin-Fanboy tune. Among the “progressive” media taking the Washington Post to task for promoting the Propornot “Blacklist” are TheDailyBeast, New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Columbia Journalism Review, Common Dreams, The Intercept, and even the far-left magazine The Nation.
The good news is that the establishment media’s fake “fake news” alarm will further hasten its demise, allowing genuine alternative news organizations to gain greater freedom and access to information not filtered by the globalist elites.