propaganda

Washington, D.C. – In what amounts to the Washington Post attempting to maintain a semblance of credibility after running a propaganda piece labeling numerous websites, including The Free Thought Project, as “Russian propaganda,” Post editors on Wednesday attempted to distance themselves from the story by attaching to the top of the article a disclaimer that among other things claims that the Post cannot “vouch for the validity of PropOrNot’s finding regarding any individual media outlet.”

Here is the Editor’s disclaimer recently added to the story:

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.

PropOrNot, the shadowy group of so-called “experts,” who refused to be identified in the Post article, has come under fire since the publication and seems to be exactly what it attempts to supposedly call out – propaganda.

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The Washington Post, after putting this propaganda into the U.S. mainstream news cycle, is now attempting to save face by backing away from the story.

The thing about propaganda is that once it is put into the public sphere and parroted by other outlets, the job has been done as the insinuation has been planted into the public’s consciousness.

Essentially, the only way to protect oneself from propaganda such as this is to recognize the outlets that engage in this type of unethical behavior, such as The Washington Post in this case. It is important to understand that they are a compromised news source that is willing to intentionally promote what is most likely government propaganda and intentionally mislead readers.

As investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald and Ben Norton of the Intercept noted, in an article titled, “Washington Post Disgracefully Promotes a McCarthyite Blacklist From a New, Hidden, and Very Shady Group,” writing that the article by the Post is “rife with obviously reckless and unproven allegations.”

Additionally, Adrien Chen, writing for the New Yorker, noted, “the prospect of legitimate dissenting voices being labeled fake news or Russian propaganda by mysterious groups of ex-government employees, with the help of a national newspaper, is even scarier.”

And that is what this is all really about. The people pulling the string from behind the scenes are upset that they were unable to control the narrative in the latest election, largely due to the coverage of WikiLeaks and the exposure of U.S. efforts to propagandize the American public into supporting an increased and active effort to utilize U.S. assets to topple the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

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Essentially, the inability to propagandize the public into the predestined narrative has resulted in a wholesale effort to marginalize independent news sources. People apparently prefer and trust independent media more than corporate mainstream media judging by their increasing popularity. The mainstream is attempting to regain control of the informational gates of society that they no longer can control due to the rise of social media.

Hence, there is a massive effort to force companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google into getting rid of what they label as “fake news,” with the actual intent of marginalizing the social media reach of legitimate dissent of public policy. When you have the likes of President Obama working to forward the “fake news” narrative, one has to wonder who is actually pulling the strings behind this seemingly coordinated assault on dissent — in an apparent attempt to silence increasingly popular critics of U.S. foreign and domestic policy.

The controversy over the shoddy Post piece came to a head when this week the “Naked capitalism” blog threatened to sue the Washington Post, demanding a retraction.

Make no mistake that there is an information war taking place, and outlets like The Washington Post, as evidenced by the publishing of the PropOrNot article and subsequent editors note, are acting as the state propagandists.

When independent news/transparency sites that span the political spectrum from left to right, to anti-authoritarian/anti-war sites, such as WikiLeaks, Truthout, Black Agenda Report, Truthdig, Naked Capitalism, Antiwar.com and the Ron Paul Institute are included on a list of “Russian propaganda” or “fake news” – there is one thing you can guarantee – it is, itself, propaganda.

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Jay Syrmopoulos is an geopolitical analyst, freethinker, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs and holds a BA in International Relations. Jay's writing has been featured on both mainstream and independent media - and has been viewed tens of millions of times. You can follow him on Twitter @SirMetropolis and on Facebook at SirMetropolis. You can support his work at Patreon.