By now you have all likely seen the list, published by some heretofore unknown group, of a hundred or more websites that are tools of Russian propaganda. I won’t bother linking to it or identifying any of the supposed offenders – suffice it to say, many sites on the list are those that I frequent often.
I was not aware of this list when I wrote this earlier piece on fake news. Had I been, I would have referenced it then and been done with it. As it is, I won’t write much even now. Others have done some good work: if you haven’t seen it, take a look at this video by James Corbett; also, this piece by Ben Norton and Glenn Greenwald.
The entire episode is so amateur and transparent, I struggle with figuring out what, exactly, is going on. The first thought that comes to mind is that it is a report created by those who want to further discredit mainstream media – for the Washington Post or other mainstream outlets to run with this as credible given the lack of discipline behind the “study” and lack of information about the group behind it screams of amateur hour and desperation. The people behind the list believed that desperate outlets would take the bait.
My second thought is that this was planned in anticipation of a Clinton victory, in which case life might have grown very difficult for those behind some of the listed sites. Given that Clinton lost – well, why not float it out there anyway…again, desperation. The more I think about it, the more I lean on this second possibility.
In any case, with Trump in office (maybe…let’s wait until January to confirm), I don’t think that the life of this list is long. And in four years – whether it is Trump or someone else in office – I don’t think it will matter. By then, outlets like the New York Times will actually report honestly (as they recently promised) or they will shrivel to uninteresting nothingness.
The cat is out of the bag, and without Clinton in office this list is going nowhere. As I concluded in my post regarding fake news:
…if you can’t tell: no one cares what you think.