‘Journalistic garbage’: Greenwald & others slam WaPo for ‘insane’ Russian propaganda story
The Washington publication, at one time hailed for its role in exposing the Watergate Scandal, has now been rounded on by a number of well-known figures from the media industry for publishing the article.
Award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, significant in bringing Edward Snowden’s US security revelations to the public, labeled the story “total journalistic garbage”.
That WPost story on Russian fake news is total journalistic garbage, but it serves various agendas so it's being uncritically passed around.— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 25, 2016
More astoundingly, the Washington Post published this black list while concealing the identity of the "researchers" who compiled it: https://t.co/HrfVibjqXN— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 25, 2016
In a series of tweets, Greenwald said the websites listed by chief source PropOrNot were smeared without any evidence by a group hiding its own identity.
Not only is it disgusting how they smear these sites w/no evidence; worse is that they do it while hiding their identity. Great job, WPost: https://t.co/RmcKTsiqeX— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 25, 2016
Funniest part: the ones who spread this thought they were exposing "fake news" when they themselves were exhibiting all the hallmarks of it. https://t.co/Ij4uMKBewf— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 25, 2016
If you're genuinely worried about the proliferation of fake news, it's definitely a good idea to start with your own Twitter & FB feeds.— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 25, 2016
Greenwald also indicated that the Washington Post piece is an example of how it has become “100 percent permissible – bordering on obligatory – to spout the most insane, evidence-free conspiracy theories if they involve Russia & Putin.”
It's 100% permissible - bordering on obligatory - to spout the most insane, evidence-free conspiracy theories if they involve Russia & Putin https://t.co/VtDITARZcx— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 25, 2016
Key criticisms levelled against the article are that it was based on a Cold War think tank source and a report by dubious, anonymous researchers. It’s also been slammed for a failing to critically evaluate a blacklist of publications that supposedly comprise a “sophisticated” Russian propaganda machine.
New York based journalist Adam Johnson scolded the Washington Post for “uncritically” publishing the story without asking “who’s behind it”.
does this seem like an objective arbiter of truth? pic.twitter.com/dCnvPC3ySB— Adam H. Johnson (@adamjohnsonNYC) November 25, 2016
curious if, when @craigtimberg got into journalism, he thought he'd one day be passing along media blacklists including progressive outlets— Adam H. Johnson (@adamjohnsonNYC) November 25, 2016
Embarrassing how many reporters breathlessly tweeted this without clicking through to the really shady site featured https://t.co/wGdy1GRuij— Trevor Timm (@trevortimm) November 25, 2016
Apparently Drudge Report is Russian propaganda! Maybe that's how ProporNot got to this absurd #, which we have no clue how they calculated pic.twitter.com/YxsdxXjbV2— Trevor Timm (@trevortimm) November 25, 2016
Macy’s Website Suffers Disruptions During Critical Shopping Day: BBG. Putin now going after US shoppers— zerohedge (@zerohedge) November 25, 2016
In the piece, journalist Craig Timberg reported how 200 websites had been implicated by a group called PropOrNot in propagating fake news. These websites included RT.com, Truth-Out.org, WikiLeaks.com, ZeroHedge.com and the site for the Ron Paul Institute.
The article also incorrectly suggested RT had used the hashtag #CrookedHillary on Twitter.
The Washington Post has since retracted its statement regarding RT using the #CrookedHillary hashtag.
“A previously published version of this story incorrectly state that Russian information service RT had used the “#CrookedHillary” hashtag push by the then-Republican candidate Donald Trump. In fact, while another Russian informations service Sputnik did use this hastag, RT did not,” the Washington Post said.
In a statement, RT responded to the article built on “false, unsubstantiated claims”.
“It is the height of irony that an article about “fake news” is built on false, unsubstantiated claims. RT adamantly rejects any and all claims and insinuations that the network has originated even a single “fake story” related to the US election. It is telling that in publishing such outrageous and slanderous allegations, the article failed to provide a single example – via a hyperlink, a headline, or otherwise – to substantiate its case against RT.”
It continued: “Likewise, RT has never used #CrookedHillary hashtag in its coverage of the campaign – this is another fabrication that was neither fact-checked, nor challenged by the Washington Post. It is important to reiterate that these claims have not been presented as an opinion, but as unquestionable fact. In what is a particularly troubling development, RT was not contacted by the Washington Post prior to the publication of the article. In effect, RT was refused the right to respond to these absolutely absurd claims prior to their publication – claims that now have been reprinted by dozens of international media outlets.”