In the latter hours of Thanksgiving, a story from the Washington Post began to circulate which claimed that two independent research organizations had discovered that Russia was apparently behind the entirety of 2016’s fake news.
As we have learned from this year, anytime someone blames the Russians for anything, there’s not much need for pesky facts of proof before the population is again trapped in a cold-war-esque fear of the nation and its leader.
But that’s exactly the problem with the Washington Post article and its corresponding “research”: it all looks like a bunch of unsubstantiated, unqualified b.s.
The sources are anonymous, apparently to protect them from Russian backlash, and their methodology is completely unexplained. They claim that they have use of an analytic tool which can detect and draw attention to geographically-specific trends, but the problem with having the ability to trawl through massive amounts of data like that is that you can make anything seem like a trend to confirm your hypothesis.
What’s worse is that Washington Post doesn’t just claim that Russian trolls are making fake news, but also that Russian-sponsored media outlets like RT are knowingly spreading fake information as well.
Is it so hard to believe that fake news dominated parts of the internet because it appeals to humans’ basest desires? Is it hard to believe that Americans looking for a quick buck might have typed all-caps headlines about Benghazi and Clinton’s lizard skin because it was easy and paid well?
Much like when Samantha Bee of “Full Frontal” was trolled by a couple of Russians looking for a quick buck who pretended to be state-sponsored internet trolls, the Washington Post has fallen victim to ignoring a lack of evidence for the sake of a good story.
But then again, isn’t that the definition of fake news itself?
Interestingly enough, the WaPo article specifically refers to rumors about Clinton’s health on 9/11 to the Russians, but they themselves ran this story on that day:
Wash Post literally reported, respectfully, claims that Hillary collapsed on 9/11 Day because Putin poisoned her https://t.co/RE4pdeznv2
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 25, 2016
As Glenn Greenwald, journalist for The Intercept said: “Seriously, if your paper suggested Putin poisoned Hillary on 9/11 Day, maybe wait a few months before screaming about others’ Fake News.”
As per the usual, Democrats and the media that surrounds them are far too eager to fan the flames of war against a major superpower. Until they can give us more proof than an anonymous source using analytic tools, they should really think about the long term effects of “propaganda” like this.