We all knew it was suspect, because one of its “expert” groups PropOrNot – that connected the Russian conspiratorial dots with conservative alternative media websites – wished to remain anonymous, and keep their methodologies secret as well.
So, a “real” newspaper like the Washington Post tries to make the case that a bunch of conservative/libertarian-leaning websites are actually the “useful idiots” (a term WaPo used) of a “sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign,” and part of their evidence is a report by an anonymous group called PropOrNot, a group which didn’t mention their credentials or how they came to their conclusions.
Do you know what would happen if a conservative or libertarian website did the same thing – appealed to the supposed “authority” of some anonymous group of “experts” as the basis for some conspiracy theory? They’d get labeled ‘fake news,’ and then get blamed for the next nutcase who threatens a business with an AR-15.
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WaPo is allowed to peddle this nonsense. They have privilege.
At the top of their article linking conservative and libertarian websites with some giant Russian conspiracy, the editor has added a note:
Editor’s Note: The Washington Post on Nov. 24 published a story on the work of four sets of researchers who have examined what they say are Russian propaganda efforts to undermine American democracy and interests. One of them was PropOrNot, a group that insists on public anonymity, which issued a report identifying more than 200 websites that, in its view, wittingly or unwittingly published or echoed Russian propaganda. A number of those sites have objected to being included on PropOrNot’s list, and some of the sites, as well as others not on the list, have publicly challenged the group’s methodology and conclusions. The Post, which did not name any of the sites, 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.
They didn’t vouch for PropOrNot’s validity. They just acted like it was true, knowing that their readers would assume PropOrNot was a legitimate authority, because it was after all WaPo pushing the narrative. Why would a “reputable” news source push false, misleading, or otherwise completely unverified information onto their readers? Well, because they know that people view them as “reputable.”
The damage is already done. Any reader whose opinion jives with WaPo’s narrative will already see PropOrNot’s list as perfectly accurate. So, no editor’s note is going to change that.
This comes after a blog called Naked Capitalism threatened to file a lawsuit against WaPo unless a retraction and an apology are issued. The editor’s note might be the closest they’re going to come to an apology.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com