WaPo Promotes Shadowy Website That Accuses 200 Publications of Being Russian Propaganda Plants

The comments are riveting here.  I have only provided about the first third of them, go to original article at NakedCapitalism.com to read more.

Washington Post Promotes Shadowy Website That Accuses 200 Publications of Being Russian Propaganda Plants

Yves here. As indicated in Links, we’ll have more to say about this in due course. Note, however, that as Blumenthal points out, some of the sites that are listed as PropOrNot allies receive US government funding. As Mark Ames pointed out via e-mail, “The law is still clear that US State Dept money and probably BBG money cannot be used to propagandize American audiences.” So if these sites really are “allies” in terms of providing hard dollars or other forms of support (shared staff, research), this site and its allies may be in violation of US statutes.

By Max Blumenthal, a senior editor of the Grayzone Project at AlterNet, and the award-winning author of Goliath and Republican Gomorrah. His most recent book is The 51 Day War: Ruin and Resistance in Gaza. Follow him on Twitter at @MaxBlumenthal. Originally published at Alternet

shady website that claims “Russia is Manipulating US Opinion Through Online Propaganda” has compiled a blacklist of websites its anonymous authors accuse of pushing fake news and Russian propaganda. The blacklist includes over 200 outlets, from the right-wing Drudge Report and Russian government-funded Russia Today, to Wikileaks and an array of marginal conspiracy and far-right sites. The blacklist also includes some of the flagship publications of the progressive left, including Truthdig, Counterpunch, Truthout, Naked Capitalism, and the Black Agenda Report, a leftist African-American opinion hub that is critical of the liberal black political establishment.

Called PropOrNot, the blacklisting organization was described by the Washington Post’s Craig Timberg as “a nonpartisan collection of researchers with foreign policy, military and technology backgrounds.” The Washington Post agreed to preserve the anonymity of the group’s director on the grounds that exposure could result in their being targeted by “Russia’s legions of skilled hackers.” The Post failed to explain what methods PropOrNot relied on to conclude that “stories planted or promoted by the Russian disinformation campaign were viewed more than 213 million times.” (Timberg also cited a report co-authored by Aaron Weisburg, founder of the one-man anti-Palestinian “Internet Haganah” operation, who has been accused of interfering in federal investigations, stealing the personal information of anarchists, online harassment, and fabricating information to smear his targets.)

Despite the Washington Post’s charitable description of PropOrNot as a group of independent-minded researchers dedicated to protecting the integrity of American democracy, the shadowy group bears many of the qualities of the red enemies it claims to be battling. In addition to its blacklist of Russian dupes, it lists a collection of outlets funded by the U.S. State Department, NATO and assorted tech and weapons companies as “allies.” PropOrNot’s methodology is so shabby it is able to peg widely read outlets like Naked Capitalism, a leading left-wing financial news blog, as Russian propaganda operations.

Though the supposed experts behind PropOrNot remain unknown, the site has been granted a veneer of credibility thanks to the Washington Post, and journalists from the New York Times, including deputy Washington editor Jonathan Weissman to former Obama senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer, are hailing Timberg’s story as Pulitzer-level journalism. “Russia appears to have successfully hacked American democracy,” declared Sahil Kapur, the senior political reporter for Bloomberg. The dead-enders of Hillary Clinton’s campaign for president have also seized on PropOrNot’s claims as proof that the election was rigged, with Clinton confidant and Center For American Progress president Neera Tanden declaring, “Wake up people,” as she blasted out the Washington Post article on Russian black ops.

PropOrNot’s malicious agenda is clearly spelled out on its website. While denying McCarthyite intentions, the group is openly attempting to compel “formal investigations by the U.S. government, because the kind of folks who make propaganda for brutal authoritarian oligarchies are often involved in a wide range of bad business.” The group also seeks to brand major progressive politics sites (and a number of prominent right-wing opinion outlets) as “‘gray’ fake-media propaganda outlets” influenced or directly operated by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). It can then compel Facebook and Google to ban them, denying them the ad revenue they rely on to survive.

Though PropOrNot’s hidden authors claim, “we do not reach our conclusions lightly,” the group’s methodology leaves more than enough room to smear an outlet on political grounds. Among the criteria PropOrNot identifies as clear signs of Russian propaganda are, “Support for policies like Brexit, and the breakup of the EU and Eurozone” and, “Opposition to Ukrainian resistance to Russia and Syrian resistance to Assad.”

By these standards, any outlet that raises the alarm about the considerable presence of extreme right-wing elements among the post-Maidan Ukrainian government or that questions the Western- and Saudi-funded campaign for regime change in Syria can be designated a Russia dupe or a paid agent of the FSB. Indeed, while admitting that they have no idea whether any of the outlets they blacklisted are being paid by Russian intelligence or are even aware they are spreading Russian propaganda, PropOrNot’s authors concluded that any outlets that have met their highly politicized criteria “have effectively become tools of the Russian intelligence services, and are worthy of further investigation.”

Among the most ironic characteristics of PropOrNot is its claim to be defending journalistic integrity, a rigorous adherence to the facts, and most of all, a sense of political levity. In fact, the group’s own literature reflects a deeply paranoid view of Russia and the outside world. According to PropOrNot’s website, Russia is staging a hostile takeover of America’s alternative online media environment “in order to Make Russia Great Again (as a new ‘Eurasian’ empire stretching from Dublin to Vladisvostok), on the other. That means preserving Russian allies like Bashar al-Assad in Syria, breaking up the ‘globalist’ EU, NATO, and US-aligned trade and defense organizations, and getting countries to join ‘Eurasianist’ Russian equivalents… Or else.”

The message is clear: Stamp out the websites blacklisted by PropOrNot,or submit to the malevolent influence of Putin’s “new global empire.”

Among the websites listed by PropOrNot as “allies” are a number of groups funded by the U.S. government or NATO. They include InterpreterMag, an anti-Russian media monitoring blog funded through Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, an arm of the U.S. government, which is edited by the hardline neoconservative Michael Weiss. Polygraph Fact Check, another project of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty aimed at Russian misinformation, is listed as an “ally.” So is Bellingcat, the crowdsourced military analysis blog run by Elliot Higgins through the Atlantic Council, which receives funding from the U.S. State Department, various Gulf monarchies and the weapons industry. (Bellingcat is directly funded by Google, according to Higgins.)

Unfortunately for PropOrNot’s mysterious authors, an alliance requires the consent of all parties involved. Alerted to his designation on the website, Bellingcat’s Higgins immediately disavowed it: “Just want to note I hadn’t heard of Propornot before the WP piece and never gave permission to them to call Bellingcat ‘allies,’” he wrote.

As scrutiny of PropOrNot increases, its credibility is rapidly unraveling. But that has not stopped Beltway media wiseguys and Democratic political operatives from hyping its claims. Fake news and Russian propaganda have become the great post-election moral panic, a creeping Sharia-style conspiracy theory for shell-shocked liberals. Hoping to punish the dark foreign forces they blame for rigging the election, many of these insiders have latched onto a McCarthyite campaign that calls for government investigations of a wide array of alternative media outlets. In this case, the medicine might be worse than the disease.

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    1. voxhumanaNovember 26, 2016 at 1:01 pm
      Daryl… your comment below makes me wonder if I misread this first one…. perhaps by “legit” you mean to say that propornot does not appear to be a hoax site aiming for onionesque snark. In that regard it does seem “legit” despite its preposterous raison d’etre.

      BTW – Daryl and his other brother Daryl were my favorite characters on Newhart… for what it’s worth….

      1. DarylNovember 27, 2016 at 1:30 am
        What I meant by my sarcastic remark is that there seems to be absolutely no reason to trust anything it says, from its content, to the fact that it was created about three months ago when the Red baiting was already in full swing in the media.

  1. Skip IntroNovember 26, 2016 at 1:53 am
    Congratulations! That site is like a who’s who of influential critical reporting. I suspect, as with so many of the bubble-dwellers attempts, that this slapdash but probably overpriced effort will drive traffic to those sites while reducing the credibility of its promoters. An instant classic own-goal. I look forward to the inevitable and embarassing revelations about their founders and funding.

    1. jrsNovember 26, 2016 at 2:37 pm
      The full list was a mix of really good sites and the unknown personal blogs of some whack-a -doodles producing “content” of little value. I see the list linked to is smaller.

      “Collectively, this propaganda is undermining our public discourse by providing a warped view of the world, where Russia can do no wrong, and America is a corrupt dystopia that is tearing itself apart.”

      Meanwhile publicans even they would deem credible like the L.A. times report there are 63,000 homeless youths in los angeles. Corrupt dystopia? No it can not be.

      “It is vital that this effort be exposed for what it is: A coordinated attempt to deceive U.S. citizens into acting in Russia’s interests.”

      look idiots, the truth as I understand it is neither Russian interest NOR US government interests are necessarily in my interest

    1. wheresOurTeddyNovember 26, 2016 at 4:05 am
      So much kvetching pre-nov 8 about Trump not accepting results of election.

      Because what kind of person would do that?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeefNovember 26, 2016 at 11:41 am
      No defeat, no soul-searching.

      So far, she is still undefeated, and the dying working class votes have not repudiated her yet.

      “Let’s not be premature.”

  2. AnonymousCounselNovember 26, 2016 at 2:22 am
    I am an attorney.

    I am not soliciting or advising any entity or person, but those identified by PropOrNot, including Naked Capitalism, should consult competent legal counsel, having appropriate and specific experience regarding defamation law (maybe even in a “pooled,” co-ordinated effort with others’ among the over 200 entities named by PropOrNot) to seek a legal opinion as to whether there exists a viable defamation claim against The Washington Post, and also, via Weisburg, The New York Times, as both publications repeated potentially defamatory claims made by PropOrNot.

    Under general tenets of defamation law (statutory and in common law), it is not just the original entity or person defaming (including defamation “per se”) another that is liable for such torts, but others who carelessly or recklessly repeat the original defamatory statements/claims (in this case, both The Washington Post & New York Times bear similar potential liability as PropOrNot).

    1. hunkerdownNovember 26, 2016 at 6:14 am
      Understanding the distinction between an attorney, and *my* attorney, and as a matter of general interest, I am curious: What about individual posters in their capacities as employees, contractors, or just rabble?

    2. Romancing The LoanNovember 26, 2016 at 9:29 am
      Requires actual malice since it’s the media you’re suing – but that can be proven by reckless indifference to the truth which this might actually meet the standard of, especially since the site isn’t making this claim based on anything other than the content of the views espoused by the sites. /also an attorney but the wrong specialty. I’d be pleased to help if I can though – all of the sites I read regularly are on the list and whoever’s propaganda op the site is the whole concept of what it represents scares the pants off me.

      1. pretzelattackNovember 26, 2016 at 11:48 am
        i vaguely thought the actual malice requirement was tied to the target being a public figure; maybe running a blog qualifies.

        1. Romancing The LoanNovember 26, 2016 at 2:48 pm
          All private individual gets you is compensatory damages – and everyone’s readership and donations have increased.

          “We hold that, so long as they do not impose liability without fault, the States may define for themselves the appropriate standard of liability for a publisher or broadcaster of defamatory falsehood injurious to a private individual… But this countervailing state interest extends no further than compensation for actual injury. For the reasons stated below, we hold that the States may not permit recovery of presumed or punitive damages, at least when liability is not based on a showing of knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for the truth.”

          Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., 418 U.S. 323, 347-349 (1974).

          Propornot is directly accusing NC and the rest of a crime (espionage), which constitutes defamation per se, so I think the only issue before the court would be whether it was done with reckless indifference.

          Seriously, Yves, please feel free to contact me offlist – I would be delighted to pro bono the heck out of this including at the direction of whoever you hire.

          1. pretzelattackNovember 26, 2016 at 10:44 pm
            thanks for enlightening me. it’s such an obvious smear, and the post as far as i can see didn’t vet the organization or its claims at all.

  3. floraNovember 26, 2016 at 3:31 am
    The MSM did such a fine job reporting the news during the campaign. (16 anti-Sanders stories in 16 hours from the WaPo. A new record.) Are small news/opinion sites cutting into their online advertising revenue. 😉

  4. JamesNovember 26, 2016 at 3:32 am
    I like you and your blog, but I’m almost positive your site has been guilty of accidently publishing Russian propaganda at some point. You’ve probably linked to stories that sound legit but can be traced all the way back to some Russian operation like RT, even though the third party source you got the story from seemed ok.

    The creator of the app never said all the sites on the list knowingly did it.

    1. Yves SmithNovember 26, 2016 at 4:37 am
      First the fact that a story appeared on RT does not make it propaganda. We featured videos from Ed Harrison on the RT program Boom/Bust, which is about the US economy and has featured respected US and foreign academics, like Steve Keen. What Steve Keen has to say is not suddenly propaganda by virtue of appearing on RT. If you read Eddy Bernay’s book Propaganda, he defines it as an entity or cause promoting its case. Thus when a news organization that is government-affiliated, like Voice of America or RT, presents a news story that is straight up reporting, that does not qualify as propaganda either (like “Marine Le Pen Gains in French Polls”). In fact, for a government site to be seen as credible when it does present propaganda, it has to do a fair bit of reasonably unbiased reporting.

      Second, had you bothered to read the actual PropOrNot site, it accuses all of the sites listed as being “propaganda outlets” under the influence of “coordinators abroad” (#11 in its FAQ). Several individuals on Twitter called this out as libel with respect to NC. And under #7, PropOrNot asserts that “some” of the sites are guilty of violating the Espionage Act and the Foreign Agent Registration Act, as in accusing them of being spies and calling for investigation (by implication of all, since how do you know which is or isn’t) by the FBI and DoJ.

      And you defend this witch hunt? Seriously? Do you have any idea of what propaganda consists of? Hint: it is not reporting accurately and skeptically.

      1. JohnNovember 26, 2016 at 9:07 am
        Their MSM propaganda isn’t working and they see it. They already heavily censor comments on their MSM sites. Other MSM sights such as Bloomberg closed down comments altogether. Expect more of that.

        And they will take every measure to close down any other independent sites people have turned to get some truth which millions of us know we aren’t getting from the MSM.

        Those of us who have a grasp on what is going on in this country will find #7 is very disturbing.
        As it tells us what they have in mind to discredit and close down independent sites.

      2. JamesNovember 26, 2016 at 10:51 am
        As you know, propaganda doesn’t have to false. It can be more about selectively reporting certain facts or emphasizing certain facts over others to smear your target and mislead people. Steve Keen is great, and I love his work, but it’s also obvious that RT invites him on the network because he lambasts the American political establishment and weakens the public’s confidence in its leaders. This is clearly a goal of Moscow, and they use people like Steve Keen to do it. I’m sure Steven Keen doesn’t think of his role that way, but RT and Russian intelligence certainly do.

        And the site clearly states that some sites are knowingly coordinating with Russian agents (like RT) and some are likely unaware that they are being influenced. They likely think NC falls into the unaware category.

        I think they should be more specific as to what sites they believe fall into the ‘knowingly’ and ‘unknowingly’ categories, but I also don’t believe the app is an entirely crazy idea. Russia is aggressively trying to influence American politics as we saw in the most recent US election and coming up with a response is a good idea even if this particular one should be improved.

        1. PatNovember 26, 2016 at 11:07 am
          Um, James what weakens people’s confidence in their leaders is their not addressing people’s issues and lying about their inability to do so. Despite protestations from the likes of much of our ‘intelligentsia’, mainstream media, and most of our political class, the majority of people are not stupid. There is a reason why terms like ‘lame stream media’ resonate with a large number of people.

          For instance when Obama is out there talking about a recovery and people know that there is no such thing in their lives, their communities then HE has lost their confidence – not someone giving an interview on RT.

          Or to put it another way the problem isn’t someone going on RT and saying the emperor isn’t wearing clothes, the problem is that the emperor isn’t wearing clothes. Pretending not to notice doesn’t mean that no one has noticed. Considering the Washington/NY/California bubble, most people probably have and have been screaming at their television that he needs to get dressed.

        2. pretzelattackNovember 26, 2016 at 11:12 am
          what did we see in “the most recent election”? what is your evidence that russia is “aggressively trying to influence american politics?”

          Steve Keen is great, and I love his work, but it’s also obvious that RT invites him on the network because he lambasts the American political establishment and weakens the public’s confidence in its leaders. This is clearly a goal of Moscow, and they use people like Steve Keen to do it. I’m sure Steven Keen doesn’t think of his role that way, but RT and Russian intelligence certainly do.

          how do you know any of this? how would you know would russian intelligence’s goals are, or how they think of steve keen? this is all just mccarthyism 2016, accusing the left of being dupes or willing agents of russia. mccarthy had his 200 communists in the state department, this website and the washington post have their 200 russian proganda websites. why are you catapulting this bullshit?


          1. ChrisPacificNovember 26, 2016 at 6:31 pm
            Well put. I could equally well argue that it’s in Russia’s interests that American leadership not be questioned, if it’s following policies that are clearly stupid and likely to weaken America’s position in the world. So the PropOrNot site might actually be a double blind backed by Russia, using fear of Russian influence to manipulate people into uncritical acceptance of their leaders and prevent questioning of poor decisions, thereby weakening America. (ALERT: If it’s not obvious to readers, this is sarcasm).

            If your methodology is gazing into the tea leaves to figure out what Russia’s position is, then smearing anybody that advocates a similar position, then that’s such a ridiculously flimsy veneer of logic that it can be used to reach pretty much any conclusion you like (as my example above demonstrates). Tell me again who is guilty of propaganda in this scenario?

            1. pretzelattackNovember 26, 2016 at 10:35 pm
              i suppose they still haven’t provided any evidence whatsoever. just like you. what 17 agencies? what evidence are they relying on? why does obama say the election was not fixed by russia, that there was no ramping up of cyber attacks?

              you could be working for david brock at correct the record. the way you blindly accept the talking points of the clinton campaign indicates that. you just keep repeating them, and don’t respond to the criticisms of propornot as a source, or the reporter who uncritically accepted their little mccarthyite hit list. linking to a usa today article that blindly repeats the same talking points, again sans evidence, does not support your argument.

              1. JamesNovember 27, 2016 at 3:44 am
                I was not claiming Russia fixed the election results. I was referring to the email hacking directed at the Clinton camp during the election campaign.

                And my claim that Russia was likely involved in the email hacking is backed up by 17 intelligence agencies and reporting from various independent news outlets. If you had bothered to read the article, which you apparently didn’t, you would know that the 17 agencies are the ‘Office of the Director of National Intelligence’ plus the 16 agencies listed in the link available in the article I provided.

                Here is the link in question: https://www.dni.gov/index.php/intelligence-community/members-of-the-ic

                If USA Today reporting is not credible to you but Russia Today’s reporting is, then I’m afraid your trust of Kremlin created propaganda outlets over independent news outlets only underscores my point that Russian information warfare has been very successful at influencing and shaping parts of American public opinion.

                I also don’t think US intelligence agencies would make this accusation publicly if they were not confident. They could have just as easily made this accusation against China but have not because it doesn’t fit China’s MO. Russia has engaged in similar types of email hacking operations in former Eastern European countries it has been seeking to control and influence.

                And comparing an app to McCarthyism is absurd. McCarthysim was the state targeting individuals and organizations. This is private citizens compiling a list by their own accord, which they are free to do.

                When a left wing blog makes a list of the top ten most right-wing and GOP influenced websites, are they also engaging in ‘McCarthism’? Is the left engaging in ‘McCarthyism’ when it accuses Fox News of being GOP influenced propaganda? C’mon.

                Regardless, I am done with this conversation for now. You can think what you want.

        3. David LamyNovember 26, 2016 at 11:31 am
          Gee, if only there were some North American country that would try to influence foreign elections, for example say Russian or Ukrainian ones.
          But let me extend James’s thought above by advocating for our leaders to obtain public encryption keys so that we may send our grievances privately without enabling any foreign interference. Won’t that just invigorate our democracy?

        4. OIFVetNovember 26, 2016 at 12:13 pm
          If Russia is actively trying to influence American politics, then they have been far more effective than the US and get a much bigger bang for their buck. For one thing, they didn’t have to drop a single bomb to effect a regime change. So assuming you are correct, the noise is just a hysterical regime change envy.

          So are RT and Sputnik propaganda outlets? Sometimes they are, but sometimes they report the truth that our MSM, having given up the last shreds of their journalistic integtity in return for access, won’t report. Given the widespread funding of media (including government-owned media) by Western governments, I would say that US and Euro hysteria about Russian propaganda, real and imagined, is yet another off-putting display of noxious American exceptionalism. I grew up listening to broadcasts of RFE and VOA behind the Iron Curtain, and mixed in with honest reporting was a heavy dose of propaganda aimed at weakening Eastern European governments. Now, it is the America For Bulgaria Foundation that funds several media outlets in the country. What they all have in common is rabid Russophobia-driven editorial stances, and one can easily conclude that it is driven by the almighty dollar rather than by honest, deeply held convictions. So, America can do it but whines like a toddler when it is allegedly done to it?! What a crock.

          The worst thing is that regardless of whatever propaganda wars are going on, this list constitutes a full frontal attack on free speech in the alleged “Land of the Free.” Besides NC, there are number of sites distinguished by thorough, quality reporting of the kind that WaPo and NYT no longer engage in. Having grown up behind the Iron Curtain, this is chilling to me. Dissident voices speaking against the endless wars for profit and neoliberalism are in effect being intimidated and smeared by anonymous thugs. This, while the militarized local police and federal agencies, closely coordinated by “fusion centers”, have ruthlessly put down a number of citizen protests, have engaged in spying on all of us, and have gone after whistleblowers for exposing the reach and scope of the surveillance state. These are the hallmarks of dictatorships, not of the alleged “world’s greatest democracy and beacon of freedom.” What the eff happened to America, and why are you equating challenging the oppressive and exploitative status quo with being “unwitting Russian dupes?” Seems to me that the useful idi0t here is you, with all due respect.

        5. GlenNovember 26, 2016 at 12:21 pm
          American intelligence uses exactly the same tactics, and has since at least WW1. Selling the American public on the Iraq war is a classic example. Remember that all news is biased, some much more so than others (we report, you decide.)

          The advent of the internet and the subsequent broadening of readily available news of all slants has made it much harder for any intelligence agency of any specific country to control the news( but it has made it extremely easy for them to monitor what we are reading).

          Naked capitalism uses a wide variety of sources, and obviously has no coordination with any intelligence agency. The normal tell for this is being state sponsored, or having a big sugar daddy providing the funding, and Yves doesn’t have any of that.

          As always, it’s up to the reader to use their critical thinking skills and form their own opinions.

        6. Atalanta69November 26, 2016 at 4:55 pm
          Some of us happen to believe that ‘lambast[ing] the American political establishment and weaken[ing] the public’s confidence in its leaders’ is in the best interests of everyone on the planet, including the American public. If that constitutes propaganda, I’m not about to look that gift horse in the mouth. RT isn’t perfect – I personally find their relentless cheerleading for economic growth rather wearying – but it knocks spots off the competition and consistently sends me scurrying to the internet to chase up on new faces and leads. I’m grateful for that.

        7. FluffytheObeseCatNovember 26, 2016 at 5:55 pm
          Steve Keen is great, and I love his work, but it’s also obvious

          Damning with faint praise. A dainty smear tactic noted as such since the days of…….. Shakespeare.

          It is obvious that Russia has been trying to influence American politics. The very existence of RT makes that obvious. What is not obvious is why modestly left-of-center Americans’ political concerns should be subject to McCarthyite attacks in our most influential news outlets. We’ve been subject to internally generated far-right propaganda for decades now and have seen minimal, feeble ‘mainstream’ efforts to counter it. The far right has done tremendous damage to our nation and is poised to do much more now that its doyens control all branches of the federal government.

          And yet this libelous attack is more focused on left-leaning opinion sites than on the ultra-right. The latter were thrown into this list almost as window dressing. Conceivably because the far right is very adept at self-defense. But more because the prestige and financial well-being of the center-“left” is endangered by the rise of an adversarial, econo-centric left. The insiders from this branch of our duopoly never have been harmed by their historic “opposition” (Tea Party kooks + corrupt Beltway Republicans).

          What I interpret this as is a strike by ‘think tank’ grifters against those who are most likely to damage their incomes, their prestige and their exceedingly comfortable berths on the Acela corridor. It’s a slightly panicky, febrile effort by a bunch of heels who are looking at losing their mid-6-figure incomes…. and becoming like so many of the rest of us: over-credentialed, under-paid and unable to afford life in the charming white parts of our coastal metropolises.

          1. BradNovember 26, 2016 at 6:34 pm
            Correct. The Democratic party liberals perform only one objective function: Attack the Left. That is what they are “there” for.

          2. nippersdadNovember 26, 2016 at 7:28 pm
            I was wondering what Brock has been up to since the dissolution of “Correct the Record.”

            Has it been dissolved or has it morphed into something else? This looks like too seamless a transition from the Clinton campaign strategy we have all grown to love to the revenge strategy we have come to expect from such people. I look forward to the discovery portions of the libel suits to come. Hopefully Yves and Lambert will be taking up a collection for so worthy an enterprise soon.

        8. Yves SmithNovember 26, 2016 at 6:12 pm
          You’ve just libeled me. You have no evidence whatsoever to substantiate your claim. Nor do you have any evidence that Russia has been “aggressively” trying to influence US politics. This is one of many hysterical lines offered by Team Dem over the course of this election, up there with depicting all Trump voters as racist yahoos.

          Ed Harrison, who is the producer of the show and replied later in this thread, is the one who booked Keen and interviewed and other economists and firmly disputes your assertion that his show has anything to do with promoting an anti-US line. And as a former diplomat, Harrison would be far more sensitive than most to that sort of issue. I’m repeating his comment below:

          Hi Naked Capitalism. I haven’t been on this site for some time. But I felt it necessary to comment due to an ad hominem attack from a commenter “James” regarding the show I produce at RT called Boom Bust.

          From my vantage point as producer at RT, I have been able to see the whole anti-Russia campaign unfold in all its fury. I have a lot of thoughts on this but I want to restrict my comments to the specific argument James makes. here:

          “it’s also obvious that RT invites him on the network because he lambasts the American political establishment and weakens the public’s confidence in its leaders. This is clearly a goal of Moscow, and they use people like Steve Keen to do it. I’m sure Steven Keen doesn’t think of his role that way, but RT and Russian intelligence certainly do.”

          Since I produce the show that Steve Keen appears on, I am well-placed to give you a view on this. James’ comment is flat out false. What James writes is something he has fabricated in his imagination – connecting dots he believes should be connected based on no first hand evidence whatsoever.

          What actually happens on Boom Bust is this:

          Since no one I work with at RT has a sophisticated background in economics, finance or financial reporting, they give us a wide berth in putting together content for our show with nearly no top down dictates at all. That means we as American journalists have a pretty much free hand to report economic news intelligently and without bias. We invite libertarian, mainstream, non-mainstream, leftist, Democratic commentators, Republican commentators – you name it. As for guests, they are not anti-American in any way shape or form. They are disproportionately non-mainstream.

          We have no pro-Russian agenda. And that is in part because Russia is a bit player on the economic stage, frankly. Except for sanctions, it has mostly been irrelevant on our show since inception.

          Let me share a strange anecdote on that. We had a guest on our show about three years ago, early in my tenure. We invited him on because he had smart things to say about the UK economy. But he had also written some very negative things about Putin and Russia. Rather than whitewash this we addressed it specifically in the interview and asked him an open-ended question about Russia, so he could say his piece. I was ASTONISHED when he soft-pedaled his response and made no forceful case as he had done literally days ago in print. This guy clearly self-censored – for what reason I don’t know. But it is something that has stayed with me ever since.

          The most important goal from a managerial perspective has been that our reporting is different i.e. covers missing and important angles of the same storyline that are missing in the mainstream media or that it covers storylines that are missing altogether.

          Neither Steve Keen nor any other guest on our show appears “because he lambasts the American political establishment”. This is false. He appears on our show because he is a credible economist who provides a differentiated view on economics and insight that we believe will help our viewers understand the global economy. If Paul Krugman had something to say of that nature and would appear on our show, we would welcome him. In fact, I and other producers have reached out to him many times to no avail, especially after we had Gerald Friedman give his take on the dust-up surrounding Bernie Sanders’ economic plan. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yna275KzuDQ

          Look, I understand the scepticism about RT and its motives. It IS a state-funded news outlet with news story angles that sometimes contrast sharply with western media. And it has not been critical of the Russian government as far as I can tell. But you can’t ascribe nefarious motives to individual economists or reporters based on inaccurate or false third hand accounts. You are just making things up, creating a false narrative based on circumstantial evidence. This is just adding to the building peer pressure associated with what almost seems like an orchestrated campaign to discredit non-mainstream sources of news.

        9. bobNovember 26, 2016 at 6:14 pm
          “Russia is aggressively trying to influence American politics”

          Apparently with the help of Hillz. Was her decision to use a private email server made with the help of Putin?

        10. BradNovember 26, 2016 at 6:24 pm
          James, we get it. We US citizens are not to be permitted to criticize our own government or corporations as that might “weaken public confidence” in our Dear Leaders.

          We cannot be trusted to think for ourselves in discerning what is and is not propaganda, for after all we would be able to discern the same coming from the US side.

          The overt stifling of dissent that was such an outrageous feature of the Clinton campaign “is clearly a goal” of your side.

          Who needs Putin when we have mindless ClintonBots to do all the dirty work here?

      3. SynoiaNovember 26, 2016 at 9:38 pm
        This is a Bezos hostile takeover – aka:

        My revenue is suffering because my rag is bullshit, but all these alternatives are unfair competition — please Mr Government shut them done, because I, the one and only Great Bezos (or Great Bozo), is loosing money.

        Boo Hoo, boo hoo boo hoo….

    2. davidlyNovember 26, 2016 at 5:41 am
      almost positive = have a vague notion based on nothing but conditioning
      In other words, you are a small-time useful ijit

    3. hemeantwellNovember 26, 2016 at 8:51 am
      If you’d like, take a trip in the Wayback Machine to 1959. Then you’ll find many criticisms of US society by the Civil Rights movement sharing the same sinister tone as criticisms made by Soviet new outlets. Then you’ll also find a gaggle of US pols and their minions claiming on that basis that the Civil Rights movement is communist inspired, funded, and run. Then you’ll also find many people who don’t bother to distinguish source from story and end up enjoying the official Kool Aid.

      1. PlutoniumKunNovember 26, 2016 at 9:23 am
        It reminds me of a story from Northern Ireland in the 1960’s when the leader of a civil rights march was asked by a BBC reporter ‘is it true that your organisation has been infiltrated by radicals and communists?’ His reply was to sigh and say ‘I f**king wish it was true’.

      2. John ZelnickerNovember 26, 2016 at 9:47 am
        @hemeantwell – This same claim of communist inspiration and connection was also thrown at the anti-war movement. I remember arguing with a friend of my parents in the summer of 1969, after my freshman year at college where I was active in the anti-war and anti-draft movements. After countering all of the arguments made by this gentleman, he was left with nothing to say but “Well, that’s the Commie’s line…” as a final dismissal.

      3. Jim HaygoodNovember 26, 2016 at 10:52 am
        ‘US pols and their minions claiming … that the Civil Rights movement is communist inspired, funded, and run.’

        Right up to his death on 4 Apr 1968, Martin Luther King was accused by J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI of “knowingly, willingly and regularly cooperating with and taking guidance from communists.” Now there’s a US national holiday in King’s honor.

        That same year, my dad visited Moscow and Czechoslovakia during the Prague Spring. After he returned, we started receiving crudely mimeographed newsletters from Moscow — actual Soviet propaganda, delivered right to our mailbox in Texas.

        So laden were they with hoary old Marxist rhetoric that we started satirizing it in our underground student newspaper, mocking the public school administration as “capitalist running dogs” and “colonialist oppressors.” (This did not go over well.)

        To his regret, my dad sent one of the Soviet flyers to the FBI, but never got a reply. He suspected that they put him on a watch list, rather than investigating how the Soviets were distributing their crude invective through the US mail.


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