Democrat advice for ‘combating online disinformation’ is common sense buried under hypocrisy and censorship
is a Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, who wrote a regular column for Antiwar.com from 2000 to 2015, and is now senior writer at RT. Follow him on Telegram @TheNebulator and on Twitter @NebojsaMalic
On Tuesday, as Democrats launched their final impeachment push in the House of Representatives, the DNC posted a set of recommendations to its followers to protect themselves from “disinformation.” While the jokes about flogging the dead horse of ‘Russiagate’ write themselves at this point, some of the advice offered is actually quite solid.
We’ve seen what happens when disinformation goes unchecked — it threatens our democracy and makes us all less safe. That’s why we’re making sure you know how to combat bots, troll farms, fake accounts, disinformation, and propaganda.— The Democrats (@TheDemocrats) December 16, 2019
For instance, it makes perfect sense to actively seek out information from multiple sources. The DNC spoils it, however, by insisting the sources have to be “authoritative.” As in what, approved by the Party? Well, no, merely by the self-appointed gatekeepers such as MediaBiasFactCheck and NewsGuard.
We’ve written about NewsGuard before. As for MBFC, it lists the Alliance for Securing Democracy – operators of the ridiculous Hamilton68 dashboard – and Bellingcat as “least biased” news sources. Enough said.Also on rt.com Newsweek trusts Bellingcat more than Reuters – journalist who quit over ‘suppressed’ OPCW story to RT
“Ask yourself who the author of online content is,” also amounts to good advice. That too is tempered by the realization that in its more commonplace, lazy form it amounts to identity politics: stuff “our” people create has to be correct, while anything done by “them” is suspect.
The third point is perhaps the strongest: “When you share, make sure you are sharing content that is true and helpful to others, not as a knee-jerk reaction to content that angers or scares you.”
One only wishes the Democrats would take their own advice, given how widespread the “woke rage clickbait” business model has become. A whole bunch of online outlets have catered to hate-clicks of Democrats perpetually aggrieved by Donald Trump’s presidency, until they went out of business and fired their staff.Also on rt.com ‘Woke clickbait’ ruined media, so now they demand censorship – and Big Tech obeys
The fourth piece of advice urges people to “try to inject truth into the debate” using fact-checkers like Snopes or PolitiFact. Leaving aside the proliferation of partisan fact-checkers and the whole industry of “arguments” based on redefining the meaning of words, this method is somewhat of a rare bird – mainly because of too many people follow points two and three too literally, and generally launching personal attacks rather than debating the issues.
By far the worst offender, however, has to be the fifth point, urging DNC followers to “educate” themselves by reading a variety of articles, books and reports that actually peddle outrageous propaganda.
For example, one of the recommended resources is a report on disinformation by New Knowledge – a Democrat-funded shop that literally faked an army of Russian “bots” to sway a 2017 US Senate race in Alabama.
Another is a New York Times “documentary” on a Soviet conspiracy to “tear the West apart” that tells more about its authors than anything they claim.
Other recommendations include “smart civil society groups” that are literally disinformation shops run either by the Democrats themselves (Media Matters for America), or the Atlantic Council and NATO (Disinfo Portal). There is also Graphika, an outfit currently employing the Atlantic Council’s former chief troll-hunter Ben Nimmo, a disinformation story unto himself.
But wait, there’s more! Among the recommended authorities are Russiagate pushers Clint Watts and Malcolm Nance, CNN and MSNBC authorities on “disinformation” and “Russian bots” despite being repeatedly and colossally wrong on everything pretty much all the time.
Needless to say, DNC’s advice has attracted far more derision than appreciation on Twitter, with responses dominated by snark along the lines of “Tell us more about this and the Steele dossier,” or “disinformation [is] information that doesn’t lead to election of Democrats.”
Nor was all of the negative feedback from conservatives. “Coming from those who rigged the 2016 Democratic primary, no thanks. I don't take advice from criminals,” quipped one diehard Bernie Sanders fan.
Tough luck, Democrats. Do better.
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.