The Washington Post’s Fake News Problem

The Washington Post has a fake news problem. Fake news is not only competition for the Washington Post, but its own affliction. The Washington Post seem to have difficulty refraining from publishing fake news while criticizing others for publishing it.

The Washington Post’s labeling of competing alternative media outlets as “fake news” since the 2016 Presidential election are becoming increasingly ironic.

Debunking Pizzagate

The Washington Post entered the “fake news” fray by attempting to debunk Pizzagate. While the Washington Post examined some of the unproven allegations, it did not conclusively determine with factual analysis that Pizzagate was “fake news”. Rather, the Washington Post simply declared it was fake news, rather than thoroughly debunking the story.

Prop or Not Hoax

Things got worse for the Washington Post’s reputation as a “real news” outlet, when it published accusations that a hundred or so alternative media sites were Russian propaganda outlets that disseminated fake news that helped tip the election to Donald Trump. The Washington Post cited a newly created anonymous group as its source, Prop or Not, which itself did not provide any concrete evidence of any Russian connection. The article was roundly criticized not only by some of the web sites wrongly accused as acting on behalf of the Russians, but also by Rolling Stone and the Intercept.

The Washington Post later added an editor’s note to their “Prop or Not” story indicating that they did not vouch for the accuracy of Prop or Not’s findings.

In other words, the Washington Post published fake news knowingly.

In December, the Washington Post was appointed by Facebook to help it identify fake news coming from fake news outlets, perhaps on the assumption of “takes one to know one”?

Russia’s Hacking of a Vermont Power Grid

The Washington Post’s next brush with fake news occurred in late December and involved their reporting on Russian hacking of a Vermont power grid. The Post published an unverified story that the Russians hacked the Vermont Power Grid. The story turned out to be totally false.

In other words, the Washington Post published fake news negligently.

Rather than add a note to their false power grid hacking story, the Washington Post devoted an entirely new story in early January that confessed “Russian government hackers do not appear to have targeted Vermont utility, say people close to investigation

Trump Forces out DC National Guard General

In January, the Washington Post left out key information on the resignation of head of the D.C. National Guard. The Post’s story indicated that “D.C. National Guard, Maj. Gen. Errol R. Schwartz, said Friday that he has been ordered removed from his command” effective immediately upon Donald’s Trump’s inauguration at 12:01pm Friday January 20, 2017. Such a move would make the President Elect appear reckless as the National Guard would be without a general for the period of time after Donald Trump was sworn in.

The Washington Post story left out key information regarding the procedural protocol for the General of the D.C. National Guard who traditionally submits his letter of resignation to the incoming President. The Trump administration had offered General Schwartz the opportunity to keep his post through inauguration, but he declined the offer.

In other words, through purposeful omission of key facts or simply shoddy journalism, the Washington Post published fake news, AGAIN.

The main stream media’s assault on alternative media outlets as “fake news” so far has not been a success. The term “fake news” seems to have been co-opted by alternative media who now in turn label main stream media publishers like the Washington Post as “fake news”. Donald Trump’s characterization of CNN as “fake news” at his press conference last week, may have main stream media outlets ruing the day they decided to fight the competition with the term “fake news”.

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The Intercept on Fake News

The intercept roundly denounced and referred to as disgusting, the recent Washington Post story that argued that fake news emanating from Russia tipped the election to Donald Trump. The Washington Post recently added an editor’s note to that story in an effort to distance themselves from the conclusions that its cited experts had made.

The Intercept astutely notes in their most recent article on fake news: “Those who most loudly denounce Fake News are typically those most aggressively disseminating it.

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number-of-articles-in-the-new-york-times-referencing-fake-news
Fake news references in the New York Times are up 531% in 2016 over last year.

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The Intercept Trashes The Washington Post as ‘Disgraceful’

The Washington Post article blaming “russian propaganda and fake news” for tipping the election to Trump has been taken to task by the Intercept.

In a co-authored article by Ben Norton and Glenn Greenwald, the Intercept calls out the Washington Post for promoting a list of web sites published by a web site called Prop or Not. The Intercept notes that no one at the newly formed Prop or Not site has been identified, yet the Washington Post referred to Prop or Not as “experts” without revealing any of their credentials.

The Prop or Not list of web sites that supposedly peddle “Russian Propaganda” strains credibility. Many of the sites on the Prop or Not appear to be right or left leaning sites or sites operated by former Reagan appointees (David Stockman and Dr. Paul Craig Roberts) that are critical of the current administration.

The For Prop or Not criticism of the administration easily translates to “Russian Propaganda”. The Intercept writes re Prop or Not:

The Washington Post should be very proud: it staked a major part of its news story on the unverified, untestable assertions of this laughable organization.”

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