Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Fwd: fake news and the resurgence of McCarthyism

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "John Hemington"

On November 24th The Washington Post published a scurrilous article attempting to blacklist over 200 alternative media sites across the political spectrum as being "Russian controlled" or "useful idiots" for Russia in publishing "fake news" that is pro-Russian and anti-American.  Further stating that these sites were largely responsible for the election of Donald Trump as president and should be investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by the Justice Department as foreign agents.  It would be one thing if any evidence supporting these claims was presented – none was.  Not only was no evidence presented but of the two so-called sources for this blacklisting one was a long-time hard-right cold war neoconservative think tank and the other was entirely anonymous as to who it was or what methods were used to make the determination.  That these essentially useless sources were used as the basis for an article to attack alternative media outlets is the worst possible sort of journalism – that it was done by The Washington Post is unforgiveable.

Interestingly enough an analysis of the media outlets listed by the anonymous "evaluator" seems to indicate that these outlets were chosen solely on the basis that they criticised Hillary Clinton, the mainstream media and elitist institutions or that revealed information that the elites hoped to keep secret.  The "Russians did it gambit" appears to be a ploy reprising the McCarthy "Red scare" blacklisting in the 1950s.  One of the screeds presented by the anonymous urged people to only use certain establishment news sources stating:

"We call on the American public to:  Obtain news from actual reporters, who report to an editor and are professionally accountable for mistakes.  We suggest NPR, the BBC, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, BuzzfeedVICE, etc, and especially your local papers and local TV news channels.  Support them by subscribing, if you can!"

This is a very dangerous precedent for one of the nation's papers of record to promulgate the rantings of an unknown anonymous source attempting to discredit over 200 perfectly valid alternative news sources by asserting that they are pro-Russian and anti-American.  I find it particularly distressing because a number of the listed sources are ones I personally know to be of excellent quality in their reporting, the only apparent connection being a willingness to level criticism at Hillary Clinton and the New Democrat establishment (as well as the Republican establishment).  None of them, as far as I can tell are in any way shape or form pro-Russian or anti-American.  They are, on the other hand, proponents of getting out news which is generally shielded from the public by the mainstream media sources listed in the paragraph above.

Attached are six articles from a variety of sources, including those on the "list", discussing this attack on journalistic integrity and freedom of the press.  I urge you to take the time to read at least some of these to get a full understanding of just how threatening this is – particularly with the advent of a President Trump on the horizon.  The very last thing we should want are constraints on a free press whether that comes from the mainstream media or from the government.  And keep in mind, some of the media outlets on the "list" were progressive, some were conservative and some were libertarian.  This is an equal opportunity assault on dissent in America.



1 comment:

Mark Rauterkus said...