Washington Post – Time To Retire Term “Fake News”

Fake News Blow Back Hits Main Stream Media

Last week, on January 12, 2017, we reported that according to Rush Limbaugh, the New York Times was banning the use of the term “fake news”. Today, we learned of a story in the style section of the the Washington Post that appeared on January 8, 2017, calling for the retirement of the term fake news.

The term apparently has been co-opted and used against the Washington Post, NY Times, CNN and other main stream media purveyors of some times fake news for the Washington Post’s liking. Margaret Sullivan, previously a public editor at the New York Times, writing for the Washington Post referenced uses of the term fake news by former Senator Jim DeMint, Info Wars’ Alex Jones and an “arch conservative webstite” (unnamed but linked to Stop the Take Over .org) in her recent column.

For Ms. Sullivan such use by a “tea partier”, a “conspiracy theorist” and an “arch- conservative website”, of the term fake news was enough for her to conclude the term needed to be retired. In the manner of a top PC word police officer, Ms. Sullivan declared that the word fake news needed to removed from the lexicon because it had been co-opted and become removed from its original meaning.

Perhaps, instead the term “fake news” still meets Ms. Sullivan’s definition: “deliberately constructed lies, in the form of news articles, meant to mislead the public”. Look no further than three recent fake news stories published by the Washington Post and cataloged here that arguably meet that definition.

The term “fake news” is not going away. The main stream media weaponized the term fake news and created a Frankenstein. CNN was on the receiving end of a “fake news” truth bomb last week when President- Elect Donald Trump silenced a CNN reporting by calling his organization “fake news”.

You organization is terrible, Quiet, Don’t be Rude, You are FakeNews

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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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New York Times To Ban Term “Fake News”

According to Rush Limbaugh, the New York Times will no longer use the term “fake news”. Seems the left’s “fake news” campaign to discredit alternative competing media outlets has backfired on them. Charges of “fake news” began soon after the Presidential election was over as an excuse for Hillary Clinton’s defeat.

Alternative media bloggers and you tubers leveled charges of “fake news” back at main stream news outlets and created their own fake news outlet list that included the New York Times, the Washington Post (for peddling the prop or not and Russian hacking of a Vermont power plant fake news stories) and CNN.

But no “fake news” charge was delivered so decisively as when Donald Trump yesterday silenced CNN reporter Dan Acosta by telling him his news organization was terrible and “fake news”.

BOOM!

It can only get worse from here for the main stream media, so the New York Times has chosen to cut its losses and stop using the term fake news.

Perhaps President Trump can call a reporter “racist” at his next news conference?

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FaceBook to Fact Check Fake News

Facebook to Use Left-Wing Organization and Left Leaning Main Stream Media Fact Checkers

In an Orwellian move that many media experts suspect is nothing more than an attempt to silence opposing views and competitive media outlets, Facebook announced that it will enlist the aid of several main stream media outlets to help it fact check articles.

Facebook announced that it will use a fact checking code drafted by The International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), an organization hosted by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies. The Poynter Institute, according to Breitbart is funded by Soros’ Open Society Foundations, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Google, and the National Endowment for Democracy, entities all openly favorable to left-wing causes and the Democratic party.

Other Facebook fact checkers include Snopes, ABC News and The Washington Post- all left leaning organizations.

How it will work

Facebook announced that it will address hoaxes and fake news by:

  • Easier reporting
  • Fake news can be reported to Facebook by clicking on the upper right hand corner of each post.

  • Flagging Stories as Disputed
  • Fake stories will be flagged. Facebook users can still share these stories but they will be flagged with a warning that the story has been disputed.

  • Informed Sharing
  • Facebook will introduce signals into helping to identify fake news. If people read articles and don’t share it, that may be a sign that the article misled the reader. There are many reasons why people may not share a story (not interesting?) that have nothing to do with the veracity of the content.

  • Disrupting Financial Incentives for Spammer
  • Facebook will identify publishers where they detect ‘policy enforcement actions might be necessary.’

The Facebook action against fake news is not a voluntary opt in filter but a site-wide mandated Facebook”feature”. If users wish to have every piece of information vetted by a third party, then the Facebook fake news filter will satisfy them. If not, other platforms that don’t engage in overt and biased censorship of information will most likely come on line and thrive.

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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.

Read More

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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Trump vs. the CIA and the Main Stream Media

The New York Times, The Atlantic, Washington Post and other main stream media out lets are reporting the “fact” that Russia “hacked the election” based on a CIA conclusion.

The Atlantic notes that the CIA evidence “remains mostly secret”. The Washington Post wrote “the CIA concluded in a secret assessment” that there was Russian involvement in the U.S. election “according to [unnamed] officials brief on the matter”. A New York Times headline blurted “CIA Judgement Built on Swell of Evidence”.

President-Elect Donald Trump’s told Fox News over the weekend he did not believe the CIA conclusion that Russia hacked the election as trumpeted by the main stream media articles and called it “ridiculous”.

The New York Times has warned that Trump’s “mocking of the US intelligence finding” is an “extraordinary breach”. The Washington Post wrote that Trump’s comments set him on course for a showdown with [unnamed] intelligence officials that “some of them describe as the most complex threat environment in decades.”

Undeterred, Trump took to twitter today claiming that if he had lost the election and blamed it on the Russia, it would have been dismissed as a “conspiracy theory”

The main stream media has so damaged its credibility during the last election cycle that if indeed Russia has committed serious acts of espionage, many have trouble believing it when it is reported by main stream media outlets.

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Washington Post Adds Note To Russian Propaganda/Fake News Story

Washington Post Defends Fake News/Russian Propaganda Article – It wasn’t OUR list

The Washington Post published an article entitled ‘Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say“. The “experts” that the Washington Post relied upon was an entity called Prop or Not who provided the Washington Post with a list of 200 web sites allegedly involved in spreading Russian propaganda.

The Washington Post Russian Propaganda/Fake News article has been widely criticized by many news outlets including the Intercept (‘disgraceful”) and Rolling Stone Magazine (‘shameful and disgusting’)

At least two of the sites listed on Prop or Not’s list, Natural News and Naked Capitalism have asked the Washington Post to apologize and retract the story with implied or explicit threats of legal action if such actions were not forthcoming.

The Washington Post yesterday added exculpatory language in the form of an “editor’s note” to the introduction of their Russian Propaganda/Fake News story. To paraphrase – Prop or Not insists on anonymity, the Washington Post didn’t itself did not name any of the sites, it was Prop or Not’s list – not ours, the Washington Post did not vouch for Prop or Not’s findings nor did their article purport to do so. The Washington Post added that Prop or Not took some sites off their list.

(you can read the WAPO editor’s note here)

The Washington Post also removed a link to the Prop or Not list and now features a link to Prop or Not’s subsequent research article.

In essence, the Washington Post admitted they just passed along the findings of Prop or Not without any independent verification (because Prop or not INSISTS on anonymity?) No apology or retraction was included in the Washington Post editor’s note.

The Russian Propaganda fake news mainstream media hysteria, led by the WAPO, CBS News and the New York Times prompted Hillary Clinton to make a rare public appearance to denounce fake news and demand the government act immediately to counter it because ‘people’s lives are at risk’.

The best anecdote to fake news is real news produced with the highest journalist standards that include fact checking and independent investigation. The Washington Post’s “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say” fails by those standards.

Fake news doesn’t “need to be stopped”. Fake news is protected by the first amendment. The government is not supposed to act to shut down factually incorrect or misleading news. Fake news needs to be countered by real news. Ultimately, however, it is up to the consumer to decide which content they chose to read.

If Russian or foreign powers are spreading misinformation, it is up to US security agencies to make such identifications, not Prop or Not via the Washington Post.

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Naked Capitalism Demands Apology/Retraction From Washington Post For Fake News Story

The Washington Post published a story “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say” (Fake News) in which it noted that 200 sites were identified by “experts” PropOrNot as spreading fakes news at the behest of the Russian government.

The Washington Post Fake News article has been widely criticized by many news outlets including the Intercept (‘disgraceful”) and Rolling Stone Magazine (shameful and disgusting)

Natural News one of the sites mentioned in the Fake News article Natural News has demanded an apology and retraction, with the threat of a class action law suit if none is forthcoming.

Naked Capitalism has also requested an apology and retraction without an explicit threat of a lawsuit. Naked Capitalism request, however came from attorney Jim Moody, who has argued cases before the Supreme Court. Mr. Moody’s letter requests a response in three days.

READ MORE ABOUT NAKED CAPITALISM’S FEUD WITH THE WASHINGTON POST

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BBC Derides Pizzagate as Fake News

The mainstream media doth protest too much.

The New York Times and the Washington Post have each published stories debunking “pizzagate“, an online independent investigation that points to circumstantial evidence of a pedophile ring involving Democratic party members and centered on a Washington D.C, pizza restaurant. Much of the initial evidence touted by pizzagate researchers has been derived from the John Podesta Wikileaks.

The BBC has joined with the New York Times and Washington Post in rejecting the findings of pizzagate researchers as “fake news” in an article “The saga of ‘Pizzagate’: The fake story that shows how conspiracy theories spread.”

The problem with circumstantial evidence to prove a theory is that each piece of evidence can be easily refuted and missing pieces of evidence can undermine the entire theory. Finding the existence of a door, some chairs and an open field doesn’t mean one has found an ancient stadium. Add more pieces of circumstantial evidence ( a specific location, historical writing, etc) and one can be more certain of an archaeological find.

The BBC article patently rejects ‘pizzagate” as false and a conspiracy theory. The BBC notes holes in the story without presenting the mountains of circumstantial evidence that independent researchers have found. Rather, the BBC points to the fact that no investigation has been launched. By that we suppose they mean no “official investigation”. The independent researchers are indeed conducting an “investigation”. The lack of an official investigation of a crime is not evidence that one has not been committed.

The BBC also notes that the owner of the pizza shop that is the center of the controversy has “never met Clinton“. Meeting Clinton is not a prerequisite to proving pizzagate. President Obama, the BBC fails to mention in its article, has visited the pizza restaurant at the center of pizzagate. That fact itself proves nothing.

Meeting or not meeting the owner of the pizza restaurant proves nothing. Yet, the BBC’s main contention that pizzagate is fake is that Ms. Clinton never met the pizza restaurant’s owner, while failing, however, to mention that researchers have found a letter from Ms. Clinton to the restaurant owner, which by itself proves nothing.

Hence, the BBC refutes the pizzagate theory using the same methodology the pizzagate researchers use to “prove’ their theory.

The BBC’s conclusion that pizzagate is fake is based on referencing missing evidence and making inferences regarding its own circumstantial evidence. The BBC has therefore put together an incomplete set of facts and inferences from those facts or missing facts to disprove a theory.

It seems, however, that the independent researchers have spent more time assembling circumstantial evidence to construct their theory than the BBC, NY Times and Washington Post have spent refuting it.

Read the BBC’s Dissmissal of Pizzagate

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Rolling Stone Slams Washington Post Fake News Story as Shameful and Disgusting

The war on fake news as conducted by the Washington Post has another left wing journalist crying foul. Last week, Glenn Greenwald former columnist for Salon and the Guardian, best know for his expose on U.S. surveillance based on information provided to him by Edward Snowden, trashed the Washington Post’s hit piece on “fake news” and 200 alternative media sites.

Mr Greenwald portrayed the Washington Post’s list of alternative media web sites as part of a Russian disinformation campaign as disgraceful, noting that the Washington Post did virtually no fact checking on the organization that prepared the list.

Matt Taibbi, of Rolling Stone Magazine also weighed in on the Washington Post’s “fake news” story. Mr. Taibbi, best know for his unflattering depiction of Goldman Sachs, was harsher than Mr. Greenwald. Mr. Taibbi called the Washington Post Story “shameful” and “disgusting“.

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