By Joshua Frank, CounterPunch, Dec 9, 2016
Last week CounterPunch and others demanded the Washington Post retract and apologize for their shoddy article by Craig Timberg that smeared some 200 websites as Russian propagandists. Our friends at Truthdig and Naked Capitalism, both named as Putinistas, fired off demand letters. A petition was also sent to Post editor Martin Baron. Needless to say, they felt the heat.
On Wednesday the Post added a note atop their article, essentially trying to put a little breathing room behind their “journalism” and their main source, an obscure anonymous outfit called PropOrNot.
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.
Apparently the Post editors were unaware of the drivel Timberg wrote in his hearty embrace of PropOrNot’s “findings”:
PropOrNot’s monitoring report, which was provided to The Washington Post in advance of its public release, identifies more than 200 websites as routine peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season, with combined audiences of at least 15 million Americans. On Facebook, PropOrNot estimates that stories planted or promoted by the disinformation campaign were viewed more than 213 million times.
So on the one hand, the Post realized PropOrNot is full of shit, but on the other they are still not willing to retract a bogus piece that used a suspect group as a primary source. So much for journalistic integrity. I shouldn’t be surprised, the Post had none to begin with.
In other news, it came to our attention this week that a “design technologist ” by the name of Daniel Sieradski has developed a plugin for Google’s Chrome web browser that alerts readers when they stumble upon CounterPunch…
Read the full article, including Twitter texts images, at the weblink above.