We’re Under Attack

After our very successful fundraiser, we thought the most we’d need to do at this point in the year was send a pleasant, grateful follow-up e-mail to our mailing list. Instead, we’ve become the target of a full-bore McCarthyite attack.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, the Washington Post legitimated a thin, amateurish site whose principals have libeled not only Naked Capitalism but also Ron Paul’s institute, former Reagan Administration officials David Stockman and Paul Craig Roberts, well-respected progressive stalwarts, such as Counterpunch, Truthout, TruthDig, and Black Agenda Report, as supposed Russian propaganda outlets with foreign “coordinators.” Moreover, with no supporting evidence whatsoever, this site called for everyone on its list to be investigated by the FBI and DoJ for Espionage Act violations.

The common denominator for all these websites seems to be skepticism about the failed Clinton coronation.

This is intimidation of the most crass sort. Make no mistake: this isn’t about media, it’s about a wholesale attack by the Democratic establishment on anything they don’t like, which includes the Naked Capitalism community. This version is a lunatic conspiracy theory, that the election was stolen by Putin, and no different from the ones the ones peddled by the right, like birtherism and climate change denial.

The Twitterverse exploded in criticism of the Post’s shoddy story, and Glenn Greenwald rallied to our defense in an Intercept story, citing the attack on Naked Capitalism as “particularly egregious.” As he stated:

The group commits outright defamation by slandering obviously legitimate news sites as propaganda tools of the Kremlin…That is because a big part of the group’s definition for “Russian propaganda outlet” is criticizing U.S. foreign policy. … [T]he website conflates criticism of Western governments and their actions and policies with Russian propaganda…

Even more disturbing than the Post’s shoddy journalism in this instance is the broader trend in which any wild conspiracy theory or McCarthyite attack is now permitted in U.S. discourse as long as it involves Russia and Putin…

As is so often the case, those who mostly loudly warn of “fake news” from others are themselves the most aggressive disseminators of it.

Matt Taibbi also weighed in, pointing out that the Post had not bother to contact us, Chris Hedges of TruthDig or presumably anyone else and added:

This is the ultimate in stupidity and self-annihilating behavior. The power of the press comes from its independence from politicians. Jump into bed with them and you not only won’t ever be able to get out, but you’ll win nothing but a loss of real influence and the undying loathing of audiences.

Helping Beltway politicos mass-label a huge portion of dissenting media as “useful idiots” for foreign enemies in this sense is an extraordinarily self-destructive act. Maybe the Post doesn’t care and thinks it’s doing the right thing. In that case, at least do the damn work.

Given the rash of recent stories about “fake news,” the Post’s article looks to be part of a push to get certain sites designated as purveyors of “fake news” and to have links to them banned on Facebook and Twitter, delegitimating them and cutting their revenues.

One of the most disconcerting developments of the ugly 2016 Presidential campaign has been ongoing criticism by mainstream media sites and pundits of competing sources of news and information. This attempt at information control is reminiscent of the line of thinking argued by Walter Lippmann and Edward Bernays, both members of the Creel Committee. The Creel Committee was the first systematic large-scale government-sponsored propaganda effort, which turned the formerly pacifist US into an eager antagonist of Great War Germany. The Committee was remarkable in the range of channels it used before the days of mass media to reach citizens and pump out stories of German barbarism, including bogus accounts of German soldiers bayonetting babies. Many member of the American public were horrified in the 1920s when they learned of the operation of the Creel Committee and the ease with which it had manipulated mass opinion.

Apologists like Lippmann and Bernays argued that modern life had become too complicated for ordinary people to understand; that citizens needed to have their information screened, interpreted, and presented by experts, such as members of the media. Bernays in his 1928 book Propaganda tried to rehabilitate the term, arguing that the word originally referred to religions presenting their message to potential converts, and that governments and businesses were justified in presenting the most persuasive version possible of their case, including using emotional techniques and validators to bolster their image. To illustrate how routine propaganda was, Bernays took the front page of a New York Times edition and ascertained that half the stories were propaganda.

In other words, the notion that the public should accept elite minders and gatekeepers as their sole source of information comes straight from successful first-generation propagandists.

That makes sites like Naked Capitalism a threat. We’ve been contacted privately by seasoned journalists and political insiders after the Washington Post’s smear campaign, and most said that Naked Capitalism was on the hit list because it was influential and not on board with official Beltway narratives.

I hate coming to you again for help, but we need to defend Naked Capitalism in two ways that we could not have anticipated. First, we need to mount a counter-attack. Second, we need reinforcements so we can keep the site going at the high standards you have come to expect.

The counter-attack. We believe this type of threat is very serious. The fact that the Washington Post published such a groundless slur against many well respected independent media outlets on its front page says no one is safe. While some have issued responses on their sites, they are insufficient by virtue of speaking only to their audiences.

Falsely depicting well-established sites as “fake news” providers is deadly in light of widely-anticipated Facebook moves against them, as well as plans to use browser extensions to act as unaccountable judges and juries of what is and isn’t acceptable to read. Just as a comfortable majority mistakenly thought the New Deal consensus was settled, so too do independent voices take their right to communicate free from interference on the Web for granted.

Among other efforts not yet matured, we have proposed a joint response with the other sites that were also assaulted. We have also had a highly qualified and seasoned First Amendment litigator volunteer to represent us. But even with pro bono legal advice, we still need to finance expenses. On our CalPERS Public Records Act filing in 2014, we incurred $5,000 in costs just to get to a first hearing. And if you are an attorney and you’d be willing to support our litigator if we need to beef up our team, as lawyer Romancing the Loan has already generously offered to do, please contact me at yves-at-nakedcapitalism.com. Please put “Legal Defense” in the subject line.

Reinforcements. All this means we are spending considerable time and effort on things other than posting, much to our dismay. Even with our very successful fundraiser, the tsunami of news flow has at times overwhelmed us. Thanks to the unexpected Trump win, we’ve continued with close to our pre-election coverage level of Presidential politics, and have also had the high-class problem of a continuing high number of comments. That means even more wind up in moderation, which is an inconvenience to readers and loads your already over-stretched site admins to the max (some of you may notice that your comments sit in purgatory way longer than normal and for that, sincere apologies).

We would like to bring Outis Philalithopoulos on board to help moderate comments and to do more writing for us; any money not spent on the counter-attack will be used to support him. Outis is vastly nicer and more patient than Lambert or me, so this should lead not only to comments being liberated more quickly but also fewer curt exchanges, which are often the result of Lambert and me being time stressed, tired, and as a result, cranky. Regular readers will recall Outis posted the recent popular series on liberalism.

Our Tip Jar shows how to give by check, credit or debit card. If you are sending a check, please be sure to make it out in the name of “Aurora Advisors Incorporated” and send it to:

Aurora Advisors Incorporated
903 Park Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10075

Please send an e-mail to yves-at-nakedcapitalism.com with “Check is in the mail” in the headline so we can include your donation in our running tally.

So far sooner than we expected, we need your support. Please give what you can, whether it’s $5, $50 or $5,000. Every dollar helps keep the site up and running, the curated links to pieces worth reading elsewhere coming, and Naked Capitalism’s own groundbreaking research and reporting flowing, today, tomorrow, and in the months and years to come. And this time, you are not just supporting our efforts, but helping us beat back a threat to other important, independent voices. Please help us rise to this challenge.

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  1. Mike

    Outis handing Al Franken back his own words in the shape of a noose was one of the more powerful stories on this site (in a year of many powerful stories).

    This site and its users (some of whom I met years ago at an NYC meetup) mean a lot to me. May Naked Capitalism outlive all its attackers!

    1. Benedict@Large

      On the contrary, this spoiled child mentality was in full bloom in the Clinton camp even back during the 2008 campaign, and seems to come equally from both husband and wife, the pair of whom have a long-standing Beltway reputation for punishing even the slightest appearance of anything but complete loyalty and devotion. I suppose I can see this sort of thing developing in a hyper-egotistical political family, but where does the complete blindness of her supporters come from? For years, we complained about this sort of thing from Reagan and Bush (Jr,) supporters, but figured it was at least confined to the (“slower”) right side of the aisle. Now we find out the left has its own version of this, and it is at least equally as toxic, if not more so.

      1. olga

        Blaming this in the Dems/Clintons is probably not an accurate diagnosis. The attack smacks much more of a panicked mil-industr./neocon complex whose livelihood could diminish if Trump makes peace with Russia. Cannot imagine that Bezos would support Clinton much.

        1. ToivoS

          The attack smacks much more of a panicked mil-industr./neocon complex

          And you think that the Dems are not part of the said complex?

        2. PlutoniumKun

          The relentless attacks by the WaPo on Sanders as soon as he started rising in the polls would suggest Bezos was full on the Clinton train from the very beginning.

          1. Foppe

            That or he wanted Trump to win. ;)
            Perhaps this is just a corporate attempt to discourage people from going elsewhere.

        3. integer

          If Bezos didn’t support Clinton before Trump announced that Amazon had a serious antitrust issue, he certainly did from that day forward.

      2. Code Name D

        I fear there is a bit more involved here than image management or a mere temper tantrum. The alt media is starting eat a significant chunk of the establishment’s audience. This not only makes them less effective in propaganda, (It must be so disheartening for them to spin the news, only to have their audience flood the message boards with real facts they must be getting from somewhere) but also has to cut into their revenue streams. And that is completely unacceptable.

        The establishment media is starting to feel threatened.

        1. Bryan

          Yes. This panic has that dual character: discipline the ideologically unruly sites like NC, and raise anxiety over Facebook and the others getting into the news game and draining the already-dwindling legacy media revenues.

      3. Ptolemy Philopater

        The Clintons ARE Republicans, that is why they react like Republicans. They are Republicans with a progressive veneer. It’s a game of bait and switch a la Obamanation. That accounts for the venom and the vitriol, the game is over. They lost their progressive base. People have realized that they are worse than Republicans in that they can get away with more. Grand Bargain anyone? Chained CPI anyone? The emperor has no clothes. The curtain is lifted, the fascist coercion begins. Witness Jane Harmon’s Drone Court, trying to give extrajudicial killing the veneer of due process. Included in that proposal was targeting web sites a la Wikileaks. This is way more serious than most realize. Kudos to Yves for recognizing this. The War Machine will not go quietly into the night. Time to put our money where our mouths are and fight the good fight. They are preparing to silence us.

  2. integer

    Just sent a donation via PayPal. These clowns need to be put in their place, and I can’t think of anyone better equipped (in terms of brains) to do that than you, Yves.

    Slap them the fuck down.

      1. integer

        Nice to hear from you aby. Had noticed that you haven’t been around lately and was beginning to wonder why.

        1. abynormal

          Nice to be missed, moving my 82yo mom. Another week or so. Was worried about you too! Hang in under there buddy…

          1. integer

            No dramas for me at the moment. Just the usual crap that those of us who aren’t willing to put a price on their ethical stance have to go through. All good!

            (I got déjà vu as I wrote that, which is very rare for me. Weird.)

        2. Katharine

          Yes! I remembered you had a move to do and hoped it was going all right. Good to hear your fighting words.

          I came across a great line in an old Dorothy Sayers mystery a while ago. Bunter, quoting his old mother in the country, said fears are like cows: if you stare at them hard enough they turn around and go away.

  3. TheCatSaid

    Good idea to collaborate with other good websites.

    Ironically, the Post article is a great source to find out where to go to get more accurate information.

    You’re right to take the threat seriously. How will we know if Facebook and Twitter change their algorithms–even if not an outright ban? Exercising this kind of control may be one of the reasons for Facebook & Twitter’s existence.

  4. Mattski

    The echo chamber of the “liberal” Democratic tribe has become as filled with flat-earth stupid as the conservative one. It fills me with despair, as I now feel a lot of friends are quite unreachable. Some fairly reliable markers of this (for me): if it’s 2015 and neoliberalism is not a concept they’re familiar with; if the idea that gender is constructed doesn’t resonate; and if they know nothing of the DLC.

    1. abynormal

      I refer to times like these as ‘Drop Shorts Time’….lets see what everyone has! If ya can’t think for yourself and rely on others for definitions…you’re a needledick!

      1. Mattski

        Dude, rigorous thought means agreeing on parameters, some definitions. I don’t care what you think of my apparatus, but American-style anti-intellectualism is. . . oh, sorry, that’s another term that my thwart our conversation. Play on. . . and consider yourself lumped. :)

        1. bob

          Where do you pull this sophistry from?

          “rigorous thought means agreeing on parameters”

          No, it doesn’t. Most of the time the whole argument is fought around the framing. Letting someone else set, or agreeing to ‘parameters’, these days, means letting your Better do it.

          How’d that work out for Hilz?

  5. porqouilefoi

    I recently finally subscribed to your site, and made a donation for lambert’s water cooler, and now I’ve just made a further donation to fight back against this smear campaign. It’s a strange, complicated, hostile world we live in and only getting moreso all the time, thank you Yves, Lambert and I hope now Oustis for your efforts.

  6. ambrit

    The “Good Guys” might want to consider creating a “United Front” with the Alt-X community, also known as the “Tinfoil Hat Brigade.” As an example, like him or hate him, Alex Jones has a large audience. Joe Rogan gets view numbers in the hundreds of thousands. There are more such, in the grey area of quasi respectability. Since the MSMocrats seem intent on casting stalwart independents like NC into said grey zone, it makes sense to enlist those already on the fringes for help and support.
    Stay strong.

    1. Ian

      I think that it would be a mistake in this instance not to very carefully vet who you chose to ally yourself with as this attack is very much about public image.

      1. vidimi

        so true. just because you have a common enemy doesn’t mean you won’t damage your own credibility by associating with loons

        1. Laruse

          I know I would take a step back from NC if Yves suddenly decided to team up with Alex Jones.
          Fortunately, I don’t believe that would ever happen.

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            I wouldn’t. You’re either “for” freedom of speech, or you’re not. No half pregnancies allowed.

        2. AnnieB

          Agreed. Part of the image attack was to list legitimate sites alongside a bunch of idiot sites thereby throwing dirt on all of them.

      2. Mel

        A big mistake not to vet. In the Dubya days people were wondering why the Dem party couldn’t have a Noise Machine like the GOP did. Now the Dems have one, and look at it. Just look at it. It’s for sure looking at us.

    2. Bluntobj

      As a former commenter here who was driven off years ago by Lambert’s stealth moderation of my and others comments on the dangers of Obamacare (Sad!) I have to say that when it comes to fringe, NC was there years ago.

      NC may wish to re-think joining the Alt-West side of things. NC Commenters are in serious risk of being redpilled; allowing certain dangerous realities the potential to penetrate reader’s meatbrains with wrongthink and badtalk.

      In the meantime I suggest the NC Commentariat support female POC’s for leadership in the Democrat Party. They will certainly do better for NC Readers on the left than those old white people NC Commenters keep electing.

  7. Tom

    Wow! Another sign that the USA has gone crazy! Hopefully it’s various checks and balances will work yo bring it back to sanity. Anyway I think we readers to help out should agree on not posting too many comments to reduce the moderators work load. Shall we agree on certain rules about this?

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Alas, Tom, there are no more “checks and balances,” which is why some of us held our noses and voted for Clinton. The fact is that two branches of our government are now controlled by one party and their “loyal opposition” collaborators, and the third is due to be likewise corrupted.

      In other words, anyone in the US who has actually read the Constitution and considers it a reasonably useful document for running a government is either on their own or needs to be actively seeking places like NC and other activist organizations to gear up for war.

  8. PlutoniumKun

    This really is shocking, the only response is to use everything you can to fight this latest piece of insanity from the establishment. I’m sure everyone will be patient with lesser coverage while you fight this with every legal weapon you can find. My small contribution is on its way via PayPal. I only wish I could do more to help.

    1. bob

      “the only response is to use everything you can to fight this latest piece of insanity from the establishment”

      I think that’s exactly what’s wrong. The left has been playing a game set up by someone else. Stop playing by their “rules”.

      Don’t fight it, change it.

      In this instance, it’s probably worth looking at remuneration, but an all in bet? What’s the ‘best outcome’? That you prove you aren’t a foreign agent?

      That’s winning?

      1. redleg

        The best outcome comes from discovery, where the rot can be exposed to full blast daylight. Additional dependents are added as their participation is discovered (CTR?).
        The only way to do that is through the courts.
        The other best outcome comes from winning a libel suit with damages large enough to deter other media from engaging in such behavior for a while.

        1. bob

          So then move to fantasy land? This is libertairan “let the courts decide!” BS.

          Lets game this one out- Time frame 2-5 years.

          paying for review of a sockpupupet’s emails. 1000’s of hours of analysis (discovery) If free, there is still a cost to the lawyer. I doubt you’d find anything damning, either. It’d probably put most to sleep. I imagine a constant stream of DNC and hillary talking points. Then, depositions, again, time and money. Not free.

          paying for the lawyers, again, this ain’t free. For a few YEARS.

          Then, you also have to PROVE a financial loss, in order to recover it. I don’t have financials on NC, but if anything, they probably got a short term bump, on paper.

          So, go to court for a few years and then, maybe, the court finds in your favor. Whatever meager award you may get, wouldn’t pay for much, maybe some of the lawyer.

          To “prove” you aren’t a Russian agent. Back where you began.

          I do think that people should chip in, but am only warning not to make this a crusade. It’s going to be very costly, and, if you win, years later, you’ve still lost a whole lot in the meantime.

          It’s the point of this post, in a sense. One person, or organization, can’t do it alone.

  9. Bill Black

    I did an extensive take down of the Washington Post’s disgraceful piece. It was posted Monday on New Economic Perspectives.

    Bill Black

  10. kristiina

    I hope that the court case will not affect reporting too much. If the reporting goes down, the ones that are making the attack are winning. The court case easily becomes a quagmire that just eats up resources. Glad to see more of Outis, though. I am asking myself: What is it that made it necessary to have all the independent bloggers post in defense of themselves instead of the normal reporting at this time? Making all the sharp and inquisitive minds act out in self-defense? Very strange times, indeed.

    1. TheCatSaid

      Good point. If the independent bloggers weren’t busy defending themselves, what would they be reporting on instead?

      Much of propaganda’s value is in what is not reported and thus goes unnoticed.

  11. LifelongLib

    Donated. That PropOrNot site sounds like the National Review did 40 years ago. If it’s Democrats they really have morphed into Republicans. Unbelievable.

  12. The Rev Kev

    Just dropped a donation in said Tip Jar as suggested. Love the new look (http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/11/links-112916.html) Yves has, by the way but perhaps, like Paul Craig Roberts (http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/11/28/dear-president-putin/), she should go get her Russian passport now. Wouldn’t hurt.
    When I posted a comment a few days ago about the possibility of there being a move to censor the news on the net, I had my doubts but no longer. My own reading is that the mainstream media has been revealed in the US elections to have been no longer just reporting but to have been trying to make the news. The trouble is, for them, is that they have also been show to have become almost irrelevant going by the effect they had on the election. How humiliating would that be? A multi-billion dollar organization behind you and nobody really wants to hear what you have to say. Censorship is now all they they can hope for.
    This unwelcome piece of trashed pushed by WaPo would have stuffed up a lot of people’s weekend plans – by design – so I just hope here that we all take to heart the fighting words of one great American – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbBtmDuMysU

  13. skippy

    Obviously the pressure is mounting resorting to such blatant tar and feathering, out of an urgency to regain control of public perception management. Might be a two’fer where income streams and eyeballs are in the red column, maybe the WP should do like the old Fairfax did down under and resort to spruiking RE.

      1. skippy

        Someones are worried about what their holding aby…

        Disheveled… been feeling you wrt family dramas, in our mob the rest are more concerned about their own little bubbles and maintaining status et al than the nascent departure of their father… sigh…

  14. Kokuanani

    I’d like to suggest another tactic. In our family there are no small or teenage children, only adults along the age spectrum. Each of us has enough “stuff,” so each person’s “Christmas list” consists of the names of 4 or 5 of our favorite charities; donors can give to one or more as their gift to us.

    If this idea appeals to any of the NC commentariat, you could send out your list TODAY, asking friends and family to support NC, which is dear to your heart and important politically.

    I hope this will work to increase support and awareness.

  15. vidimi

    can you file a joint defamation lawsuit under UK rules? I’m sure it would be trivial to demonstrate that the post publishes to the UK

    1. vidimi

      also, are there rules against third parties investing in a lawsuit? if, say, one could donate towards legal fees but get the money back if the suit is successful you could probably raise a lot of money.

  16. john gleason

    I can’t think of a better inheritance to my six children, fifteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren than a donation to you for this fight against the Washington Post: check is in the mail.

  17. voteforno6

    I wonder if this attack was more about the neocons trying to control the narrative on Russia than it was about Clinton. Also, I wonder just what kind of drug deal the Washington Post made to run that story. There are actual, legitimate, journalists that work there – it would be rather difficult for them to even pretend that the story met any journalistic standards.

    1. cnchal

      . . . There are actual, legitimate, journalists that work there. . .

      Their silence reveals them to be illegitimate. Or is everyone afraid of Jeffy?

    2. Carolinian

      The WaPo piece, subsequently praised in a tweet by the paper’s editor, could be less about Russia and the Dems and more about the establishment press fearing their own coming irrelevance. After all they were all in for Clinton and failed. It’s naive to think that newspaper ownership is just about making money or serving the public. It’s also about power and the existence of alternative venues who are not on board with the MSM narrative is a threat to that power. So we who are fans of NC should take the threat seriously. Our current elites seem nostalgic, not just for the Cold War ,but also for the McCarthy period when dissenting views could get you fired and ostracized. In fact that may be what they are really nostalgic for, with Russia merely serving as a pretext.

        1. Carolinian


          But the Post gleefully ran with it and then promoted it aggressively, led by its Executive Editor Marty Baron

          Don’t know how to show the tweet but Baron says

          Russian propaganda effort helped spread fake news during election, say independent researchers http://wpo.st/PHWG2

          So he is promoting if not actually praising. It does show that Baron was aware of and must have signed off on the article.


  18. Kate Arbuthnott

    I am a long time lurker on the site, but haven’t ever posted. This is outrageous. I made a donation via the tip jar and hope you’ll sue the socks off them.

  19. ex-PFC Chuck

    What is the evidence that it is indeed the Democratic branch of the establishment that is behind propornot? That seems entirely plausible but so far I haven’t seen anything concrete.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The nature of things like this is that we are unlikely to have hard proof unless we sue the Post and wind up doing discovery. The Dems have been running the Evil Rooskies meme to a deranged degree, including their accusations of hacking the elections (with no evidence whatsoever) and Trump being a Russian puppet.

      The soft proof is that the PropOrNot site and Twitter feed aren’t just amateurish, they are childish, and no journalist would take it up unless he was utterly incompetent or had a serious axe to grind. Yet the story was on the first page of the WaPo.

      1. Inode_buddha

        If at all possible, I would get in touch with PJ of groklaw fame (I spent many years there — they were amazing at the depth of research/discovery). Will be checking out your paypal link shortly.

          1. Inode_buddha

            If only you *knew* how the word “specific” made me snort… :)

            It been a number of years since I was active there. The site is now a static collection of pages with no more updates nor commentary.

            Last I heard and AFAIK, they still monitor the email addresses (pj@groklaw.net, pj2@groklaw.net)
            Or you could poke around in IRC (irc.fdfnet.net#groklaw) The last and probably best option would be to contact the server admin/owners. I did a whois and its basically hostmaster at ibiblio.org (UNC North Carolina).

            PJ is very private in general, particularly after what they put her through in similar circumstances. I do recall she won some awards from the legal community back in the day, that maybe another avenue to explore thru back issues of the law journal. Frankly I forgot who her day job law firm was.

    2. Skip Intro

      It is pretty obvious that the Dem. establishment was behind this, which is why I don’t believe it for a second. A more nuanced analysis would recognize the deft craftsmanship of The Putin, who personally hacked the WaPo to get this ridiculous story published, thereby destroying the tattered vestiges of their credibility, while also driving donations and web traffic to to the ‘black listed’ sites. Now no one can point to Russian control of these sites without looking like the kind of drooling presstitute who lays about the WaPo office with their shopworn hyperboles hanging out.
      No, one mustn’t underestimate the subtlety of a foe who can infiltrate the DNC to the extent that they not only promote Trump, but also sabotage the one candidate who could rescue the US from its savage collapse. Inserting a damaged candidate who would further turn the world against the US and squander its resources and military capability on doomed regime change adventures was just a win-win for our new Russian overlord, though his plan was foiled by disobedient deplorables and uppity downtown denizens.

      The opportunity to contribute as a direct response to this event is so wonderful, I may have to do it multiple times.

    3. washunate

      It is a good question as things are rather complex and opaque (one of the inherent problems with the secrecy and scale of our national security state…)

      But to add to what others have offered, the main point is WaPo involvement and the general red-baiting/anti-Russia bent of reviving the Cold War for domestic political suppression and corporate welfare purposes. PornOrPot itself is largely irrelevant.

      The little sliver of the establishment Dem universe I lurk around in (dkos) has been running precisely this kind of general warmongering and specific Russia bashing/smearing for an extended period of time. If this particular effort is not the Dem establishment, that is actually a larger indictment of them, for that would mean they are not even leading their own imperialist charge. They’re simply parroting some other authoritarian wet dream.

      You can tell it’s all nonsense because the front page posters there have no reality-based answers to criticism. They either ignore the actual issues or respond with some pretty hilariously insecure and defensive non-responses. It’s almost like many of the particular street level establishment figures who have to actually interact with the unwashed masses are embarrassed by how pathetic the substance of their drivel has become.

      For example, this article was on the front page of dkos about the WaPo piece. OMG, Russia hacked the election!

    1. beth

      You have that right! +100. I will help as soon as I can. This is just bizarre. I grew up in the 50s and never, never expected to have to go back to that era.

      The Bloody Shirt

      by Stephen Budiansky

  20. allan

    To honor WaPo editor Marty Barron (oh, how the mighty have fallen),
    why not call the $$$ you raise The Spotlight Fund?

      1. annie

        notice marty baron in his speech quoting christiane amampour saying: “first the media is accused of inciting, then sympathizing, then associating–until they suddenly find themselves accused of being full-fledged terrorists and subversives….”

        “Postcard from the world,” she said, “This is how it goes with authoritarians like Sisi, Erdoğan, Putin, the Ayatollahs, Duterte, et al . . . First the media is accused of inciting, then sympathizing, then associating—until they suddenly find themselves accused of being full-fledged terrorists and subversives. Then they end up in handcuffs, in cages, in kangaroo courts, in prison—and then who knows?”

  21. Dan

    I kind of like the idea of someone conveniently putting together a list of news sources outside of the main stream dribble.

  22. Collapsar

    Washington Post is owned by Jeff Bezos. I think I’m finally angry enough to cancel my amazon prime membership. If there is a comment section as to why I’m cancelling, I’ll definitely mention the stunt the Post pulled. In the mean time: donation incoming.

    1. Dave

      Is it true that Amazon loses money on small shipments?

      If so, I think I need a few cocktail napkins.

      Already will cancel our Amazon Prime memberships after ordering ten or so different tiny items–free shipping.

      1. abynormal

        “It’s a monster.”…so was WelfareWalmart and their earnings dropped 8% Q4 2016.
        (i remember 2013 when they excused earnings miss bc Macy shoppers left due to market turnaround/greenshoots bahahahahahaaaaaaaa)

        “Oh, monsters are scared,” said Lettie. “That’s why they’re monsters.”
        ~Neil Gaiman

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        Given that almost half the population gets its news from Facebook, for journalist activists to boycott it now would be shooting ourselves in both knees. Instead of screaming for yet another useless boycott, we should be concerned about the fact the New US Order shows signs of eliminating (or at the very least castrating) the FCC, which would make any of the suggested boycotts no longer moot. Net neutrality will be last year’s news, and the biggest problem will be how to reach people.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      I can never remember what books I’ve run across and want to read so I like to keep track using Amazon’s wishlist feature. Then I go and buy the books at my local bookstore. Just my little way of making Amazon spend money on me and giving them zippo in return.


    This is seriously insane! I was at dinner with some friends (in New Delhi, India) and one of them was visiting from the US, and the conversation turned to world events (naturally). I said, that this was, perhaps, the first time in the past few hundred years that the US could learn from India. With the “ascension” of Modi as PM, see what has happened – the space for dissent and dialogue has shrunk remarkably (in just over 2 years), nationalism (and false pride) are on the rise, vainly seeking redemption through tomtomming ancient achievements papers over the lack of reason, rationality and common sense afflicting day-to-day living in India, increased polarisation goes hand-in-hand with attempts to fracture existing societal faultlines, voodoo economics, sabre rattling, using the much-maligned and always under pressure military corps to distract attention from a slowly tanking economy – all under the “watchful” eye of a (largely) complicit or (hugely) incompetent/clueless media (mainstream, social or digital).
    I did not expect this kind of attack this quickly – at the risk of sounding paranoid, I strongly urge the Community to take this seriously – for freedom is everything.
    ps. Used the tip jar – thanks for everything Team NC.

    1. Vedant Desai

      I agree with you completely. Nowadays in India , you are expected to be supporter of Modi and are expected to support everything Modi does or else you will be labeled as a “Congee” and traitor , it will not matter that in your whole life you have never even once voted for Congress and dont support Congress ,you will still be shouted down as “congee”. And this situation is worsening day by day(have noticed clearly fake messages on Whatsapp in name of Wikileaks). Its sad to see same happening in USA. Just like India USA is also losing ability to constructive public discourse.

  24. fajensen

    You are of course aware that this could the first stage of a 2-part trap?

    First objective (1) is to suck up resources from the alternative news channels, second objective (2) is to identify the active ones, which actually care, to weed out the bots, link-farmers, click-baiters and CIA-honeypots.

    The cost of setting up a website is about USD 20, shell company (IVS here) to take the heat about USD 2000, writing some general slander – the hard bit – lets say 4 people in one month, here, that would be USD 40000.

    To get some wreck of a journalist to write an article about the site … I’d say that’s about USD 3000-4000 in cash or services (like a new kitchen), here.

    The cost of running a lawsuit against the slander will be significantly more expensive than that. With an empty shell company to take the heat, even when they lose the trial, there will be no money for compensation and legal costs.

    The sites coming out against the slander site are the ones that care with lawyers and such. Once this is known, the next level of attacks can be leveraged against them. Direct hacking of the alternative sites, Sock-puppeting and Doxxing attacks on the users are *much* more expensive than just a throw-away compromat-site.

    Due to the market forces, “They” can keep doing step 1 for a lot longer than everyone can afford taking down the compromat-sites. Step 2 is riskier, works as a drive-by, if repeated details eventually leaks, and someone goes in the slammer. “They” need some deep-state cover for step 2 to be long-term viable.

    One wonders if this is just some lone “trouble consultant”, perhaps David Brock, trying to pad his/her CV for the meager years to come or if it is actually from The Clinton Foundation trying to get in front of prosecutions and scandals yet to come. If step 2 happens a lot, then we know the answer to that.

    Taking the batteries out of The Foundation should in any case be a priority for Trump, once he is sworn in. Just in case.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No, you are missing the game here and have the math and game all wrong.

      The target is the Washington Post. The slander site has no juice whatsoever without that validation. Even with that attention, this slander site’s Twitter feed has all of 1000 followers. It had maybe 100 before. As a mere one of the 200 sites targeted, we got as big an increase in Twitter followers as they did.

      In addition, I can tell you from experience that it takes a tremendous amount of effort to get and maintain an audience on the Web. This burst of attention will fade.

      The Post is getting a lot of heat already from the Twitterverse and established journalists. There is also internal dissent, including the head of its own Moscow office criticizing the piece on Twitter.

      And you missed that our attorney, who has considerable First Amendment litigation experience and recently won a Supreme Court case, is working for us pro bono.

      1. Fool

        Maybe the target is WaPo…but I definitely wouldn’t underestimate the extent to which NC is a target. The fact is: in the technological landscape of social media today — of information traveling around the world with more velocity and exposure than ever before — once a lie made by a prominent person/outlet is out there, it’s out there, it’s something that at least a fraction of the population believe to be true. This has been the bread and butter of Fox for years; I have personally heard the pro-Israel right blame Palestinians for the Holocaust, even after Netanyahu retracted the accusation (which even JPost at the time called him out for).

        Fortunately, this attack has neocon / “liberal interventionist” fingerprints all over it, and this is the weakest position that they’ve ever been in (in my lifetime at least). They can be overcome. On that note, I would second fajensen’s point of taking the batteries out of the Clintons.

    2. vidimi

      this is not something the defamed sites can afford to let pass. if the attack is successful at no cost, it will become much more common. who knows whether if joe mccarthy’s first victims had fought back more vigorously the red baiting would have been stopped dead in its tracks. the WP needs to go down gawker-style or at least needs to be made into a very costly toy for bezos.

    3. redleg

      Not being a lawyer…
      As I understand it, every MSM outlet that ran the WP article is liable. Joint and several liability means that it doesn’t matter who started it, only who participated.
      So the lister can go bankrupt, but the WaPo, Strib, and all of the other participants are liable for the damages. …And vulnerable to discovery.

  25. Norb

    The class conflict is building to a crisis point and the days of living on the sidelines are ending. We all must begin to choose sides. My take on what we are seeing is the powers that be preparing the ground for crisis management. Shock Doctrine and all. Any website that offers a clear and informative source of information contrary to the establishment will be targeted. Survival mode is kicking in.

    One hopeful point is the establishment may be much weaker than expected- one way to explain the desperate and course moves. They cannot win ANY moral argument honestly if it was held publicly and openly. True representatives of the people are feared the most.

    Support is on the way. Thanks for your efforts.

    1. Another Anon

      Yes, an oligarchy confident about its future would ignore the alternative new sources.
      The more their propaganda does not match reality, the more desperate they
      will become. I will also be sending a check

      1. hemeantwell

        Hopefully their lack of confidence will give us confidence. Taibbi’s article was good for the appropriately dismissive and contemptuous humor he used to characterize the editors at WaPo. The sheer halfassed sloppiness of their salvo helps to expose their intention and will serve as a good reference point for any other less well-defined measures they undertake.

        Headed for the tip jar.

    1. kristiina

      For some reason, I remember those days when Irak was an imminent threat to America. The two aeroplanes that their military had were just about to destroy America. Annihilation anxiety seems to be quite easy to trigger.

    2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      One of the jurisdictions Wikileaks publishes from is The Netherlands, the sensible Dutch have an innate idea of how important this battle is. While you’re at it you might use StartPage (also Dutch) as your search engine. Anonymized.

        1. Jim

          If I understand correctly StartPage and duckduckgo BOTH use the Google engine but alter the “author” of the query so only the NSA (unfortunately) knows who actually sent it. In theory this renders the query useless to Google as marketing/advertising information.

  26. john bougearel

    Yves, I am all in today, with both feet.

    My facebook post this morning support of NakedCapitalism.com: Here is the backstory, almost from it’s inception back in 2007, I have been an avid daily reader of NakedCapitalism’s blog. Why? Because it has been one of the most insigtful, accurate, and informative news sources you will or ever could hope to find in America for reporting on the ongoing, never-ending financial and geo-political crises in the US and elsewhere. And the author of Naked Capitalism, Yves Smith, well just WOW! She bowls me over – not only for her gifted intelligence but even more so for the maternal instinct she has for her readership. Because I have felt that maternal instinct for almost a decade now, I hope to one day give Yves a big bear hug when I eventually meet her. (Yves, I will soldier as one of your “Four Minute Men” any time of day or night).

    For those of you who are not familiar with recent events at NakedCapitalism.com: last week the Washington Post published an slanderous, untrue, and defamatory op-ed listed her as a “fake news source” and an outlet of “Russian Propaganda.” Our Mainstream Media today has taken it upon themselves to actively fan the “witch hunt” embers of the 1950s McCarthy era – an era famed for Wisconsin Sen. Joe McCarthy producing a series of Congressional Hearings and Investigations asking one defamatory question after another all leading to: “Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist party?” I understand MSM’s motives, but this is an egregious overreach that will likely end up in another round of Congressional Hearings and Investigations. Nuff said for today! http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/11/were-under-attack.html

  27. Ian

    Yves, I’m not sure fighting a battle is the appropriate response here. In a wallet whipping battle, you will lose.

    Live to fight another day.

    1. ScottW

      I would normally agree, but having represented newspapers defending libel suits for decades this case is different. I agree with Taibi that the Editors really dropped the ball. If a suit is being contemplated, it must be laser sharp to avoid being drown in discovery. A carefully worded retraction demand will make the Post’s lawyers very nervous. If they promised their anonymous sources confidentiality for all purposes, then they have no way to prove the truth of the matter asserted. A careful editor and attorney would never promise such confidentiality and if I had reviewed this story, I would have advised them not to run it–something I rarely did because our stories were so carefully sourced.

      In the end, the Washington Post is claiming Naked Capitalism (and others) are sources of Russian propaganda spreading fake news. Seems like an intentional misstatement of fact that damages NC’s reputation.

      Good luck with the legal fight.

      1. Ulysses

        ” If a suit is being contemplated, it must be laser sharp to avoid being drown in discovery. A carefully worded retraction demand will make the Post’s lawyers very nervous. If they promised their anonymous sources confidentiality for all purposes, then they have no way to prove the truth of the matter asserted.”

        Yes. Let us hope that the traditional legal standards still apply to some degree in this instance. The factional divisions between the Trump and Clinton kleptocrats may offer us a small window of opportunity to re-establish a little respect for the Bill of Rights. The worst case scenario is that TPTB choose this moment to start using the unconstitutional powers (including suspension of habeas corpus) asserted in the NDAA.

        1. vidimi

          the worst case would be if a judge blocked discovery on “national security” grounds, accepting the claim that disclosing their sources would alert the enemy to their methods, even though russia isn’t officially an enemy.

    2. Fool

      To paraphrase Sun Tzu, if the enemy wishes to fight a wallet whipping battle, then battle them on an alternative terrain.

  28. Reify99

    Check is in the mail. Lambert thanks for your recent post of the language sites. Systematic dissection of propaganda to name the rhetorical devices used will arm the citizenry and Reveal the fraud of the propagandists. Maybe there should be a constitutional amendment, the right to bear rhetorical arms? Oh, wait…

  29. amouise

    Comment section moderation should have its own annual budget and fundraising effort. It’s one of the most valuable assets this site has. Stop shorting it and yourself and Lambert’s efforts.

    Naked Capitalism needs more help on comment moderation just like it needs a Cloudflare spam filtering. Start putting some real numbers to it including how many resources should be allocated to it. It’s not going to get easier. The news is getting more complex in that figuring out how individual pieces from around the world fit into a boarder agenda. e.g., cash. What’s happening in India, the push to limit certain bills, countries pushing digital only transaction, etc., etc.

    I appreciate the time you and Lambert spend and the quality of the comment section but it’s time to start delegating.

    You assume that people won’t pay for that. Let them prove you wrong. If you’re right, then the comments will simply need to wait in moderation. It’s only going to get worse because the theater / the show is going to get bigger and louder. If you don’t get help (I suspect more than Otis is required), then pulling the pieces into the whole will be more difficult. All you have to think of is the first 100 days of the new administration and all the possibilities of the appointments, the legislation, etc.

    Naked Capitalism filters the noise better than most sites and tries honestly to account for its own biases. Hand off more of the comment section please without abandoning it completely because comments from you and Lambert can add much to the conversation.

    1. reslez

      IIRC The Big Picture used to have a big disclaimer and link to the site’s commenting rules right next to the comment box. I think that’s something NC should do as well. Put in a sentence or two that explains what moderation is and the time delay (and maybe a link to the tip jar) and the standards for commenting here so that people know what to expect.

      Otherwise every time there’s an influx of readers we get pointless angry posts from clueless people who get caught in the moderation dragnet. I think if there was an explanation right there it would help them (and us) a lot.

    2. Code Name D

      Agreed. Lambert and Yves need to be researching and writing articles. Moderating the forum is grunt work, something we mere mortals can manage.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Yes, I’m no expert, although I’ve met a number of long term travellers who do moderating work professionally, as its a job someone can do anywhere with just a wifi connection and some modest technical skill. It seems a terrible waste of Yves and Lamberts valuable time. If there was some way to help I’d volunteer and I’m pretty sure there are plenty of others who would do so. I hope in the longer term this is something they can look at.

  30. linda amick

    I am a retired (by force) victim of the 2008 crash. I have limited funds but did donate to this cause as I can not think of anything more important at this time.
    The level of insanity displayed by, I guess, elite groups losing money and power over this election is daunting.
    Good luck in this fight. It is about free speech and living in a free society. It is also about NOT repeating history and going to another BIG WAR to enrich these losers.

  31. olga

    This seems much worse than even the cold war propaganda battle. Saved the list as a handy reference point for sites to read (although many I’ve not heard of before). That we are in a full-blown neo-McCarthy era seems quite clear now (https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/30/sweeping-us-laws-targeting-russian-interference-could-ensnare-trump). There must be serious panic in some parts of the elite and I’ve no doubt that no tactic is beyond them to kill of options for an alternative narrative. They cannot turn off the Internet (at least not yet), so starving small disagreeable sites is the next best thing. What about contacting the Electronic Frontier Foundation for ideas? I agree that a joint effort is the way… and surely there must be some attorney willing to do a bit of pro bono work. Net neutrality battle comes to mind, too… and check is in the mail.

  32. cocomaan

    Don’t sweat the comment moderation, you guys are doing a great job.

    One suggestion if people are getting salty about the moderation, maybe put a note under “Leave a reply, your email address will not be published, required fields are marked” saying “all comments are moderated.” Just to make it clear that it’s not a free for all.

    1. cocomaan

      Hey, and one more thing, feel free to not post 100 articles about the Trump transition. I appreciate the fevered pace of the 2016 election news, but some of it is probably things that you can find on the BBC/CNN front page about the donald’s latest pick, or whatever. Definitely suggest pumping the breaks on that if you feel it’s taking up too much time for little return.

    2. Marco

      I’ve never had problems with my comments getting lost or modded into oblivion on this site. Perhaps because I am careful about including links. Not sure what everyone is complaining about.

      1. abynormal

        There was a very cautious man
        Who never laughed or played
        He never risked, he never tried,
        He never sang or prayed.
        And when he on day passed away,
        His insurance was denied,
        For since he never really lived,
        They claimed he never really died.

        (Anonymous poem)

  33. jfleni

    It might seem bad now, but really, getting a such a rise out of the Washington Pest and the other billionaire pimpdaddies, only means that you are winning, and strongly so. They are starting to run; lets see where it ends.

  34. Demented Chimp

    Russian meme laughable for months.
    My twopence going in the jar to stand up to such dangerous political idiocy.

  35. Demented Chimp

    Russian meme laughable for months.
    My twopence going in the jar to stand up to such dangerous political idiocy.

      1. thump

        The hat at the bottom seems to just go to Paypal. I donate to NC with a check mailed to Aurora Advisors. Is there a way to do something similar for WC? Am I just missing it (quite likely)? Thanks.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Send a check made out to Lambert Strether to the Aurora address. Even though that isn’t his real name, his bank cashes them (mine won’t do that!).

  36. Anne

    Where to start? The first I heard of this was when I read Glenn’s takedown of the Post article at The Intercept; this, of course, forced me to read the Post’s article. The hair on the back of my neck was already standing up when I read Glenn’s piece – reading the Post’s piece did not make that better.

    I guess what I don’t understand is, why are people so afraid of the truth? Why are they so reluctant to give people the facts and let them reach their own conclusions about what his happening here and around the world?

    Maybe after years of increasingly obvious media manipulation of information we should have seen that this would be the next phase: delegitimizing credible sources of information that threaten the control the major media seem to feel is their right. They don’t like being forced them to explain why crucial pieces of information are routinely left out of the stories they are “reporting;” they don’t like having their motives questioned or their bias exposed.

    So, what to do, what to do? Demonize the upstart, impertinent outlets that are daring to just put it all out there.

    I tend to think that what started out as an effort by the Democrats and specifically, the DNC and the Clinton campaign, to use the specter of evil Russian interference in our sacrosanct election process as a reason why she couldn’t put Trump away, and to begin building a case for more dangerous confrontations with a major world power, has morphed into an opportunity for the major media outlets to take the microphone away from sites like NC and get back to the business of making and shaping the news.

    Not at all unlike the selling of the war with Iraq – those who dared to question were not treated well, their patriotism was questioned and the major media filter just did not want to let opposing voices in.

    And really, isn’t silencing the voices of smaller outlets emblematic of the overall effort to silence the voices of the people themselves? They – politicians and media alike, are happy to use us to their own goals and ambitions for as long as it takes to get what they want, but after that? Just shut up and leave them alone.

    None of this is going to be helped by having a president who seems determined to put his expensive shoes on the necks of anyone and any outlet that isn’t willing to bow to his brilliance.

    Apologies for going on and on…contribution to follow shortly.

  37. Katharine

    I just sent a caustic letter to my local paper, which repeated the Post story last week without any independent examination of the subject. They seldom publish criticism of their own work, but at least they have to read it, and since I mentioned that at least some [sic] of the libeled organizations were contemplating legal action they may be moved to greater caution in subsequent reporting.

      1. Katharine

        No, why? Libel is libel. This is a reputable site for news and informed opinion. Representing it as a Russian propaganda outlet is defamatory.

        1. Eureka Springs

          Thanks. I hope you are correct. I neither claim to understand nor trust the convoluted ‘legal’ world. Had to ask.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Local paper? Does Yves have the name and date of publication? Might be a factor in a lawsuit.

      Which reminds me: I don’t track my local paper (probably too small for something like this – brevity is its chief virtue), but I’ll look.

  38. Jabawocky

    My tuppance is in. Is this just about the dems? The guardian ran a story on a similar theme in Germany , Russians and hacking the elections. The security services see Trump and brexit as proof they’ve lost control of the Great Narrative. Scottish independence referendum was close. Italy may fall next. I suspect they want to build a great firewall of the west to get control back. The uk has one for the purposes of a ‘porn filter’ according to a recent report on the snoopers charter bill. At least for now.

    Forget islamists. Just for wanting to live in a society where fairness and justice rule, were are all extremists now.

    1. reslez

      I’m certain the billionaires are currently reviewing lots of suggestions on how to not be “surprised” by democracy ever again.

  39. camelotkidd


    Here’s to the best site on the internet. I’m so mad about this attack that I donated double what I normally do. On a positive note, the attack means you are becoming an effective alternative voice, and they are threatened.
    As Gandhi says: First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

  40. dcblogger

    it is not enough for Clinton to lose to Trump, but she needs to poison the well behind her. I can’t believe that I used to admire her.

  41. RUKidding

    I’m in. Donated. Both can and cannot believe this is happening.

    Keep up the good fight. Behind you all the way.

  42. Onlyindreams

    My first inclination was not to post a comment , but since Lambert said it was ok … here I go… and I don’t mind hanging out in purgatory either because what I write is 80% or 100% gibberish anyway.

    For the past decades, I’ve been insulated in my stay at home cupcake world raising kids.. pta, football games, volunteering etc.
    Out of boredom ( afraid to admit it), I decided to check out what was going on outside my bubble… NC was my choice of vehicle. Go figure. I am known to be drawn to the fringe types.

    NC is on that fake news LIST. Oh dear. How in the world did I get in the middle of this? Is this what goes on out there? Is this a normal occurance… is it just drama…or should I be truly alarmed?

    I am looking out my windows and my neighborhood is quiet and serene…but in here , people are panicking.
    And the pressure sales tactics for donations… I honestly don’t know what to make of it.
    Is it safer to go back to my grandma ways? Lunch with the ladies? Long walks around the park? Start sewing that quilt?

    Ok, I will donate. Checks in the mail. But please don’t log my physical address anywhere. You don’t even have to send me a thank you card.

    ( I’m actually getting paranoid here and the last thing I wanted to be is paranoid in my golden years!)

  43. JustAnObserver

    Since Pravda-on-the-Potomac spent a lot of the Dem primary attacking Bernie Sanders by any sleazy means possible might it be a good idea to get one of his – typically acerbic – comments on this latest attack by WaPo ? Any NC readers, or those on one of the other sites libeled, have good enough contacts there ?

  44. Active Listener

    I can’t afford to donate, but I donated anyway.

    This is truly beyond the pale. It feels like we really are losing the remaining vestiges of free speech and association that exist in this corporate-corrupted country. Sites like Naked Cap and Black Agenda Report must be protected. People have worked too hard and too long to build those online communities and earn credibility as journalists, critics, thinkers of new ideas, and creators of educational repositories just to allow the monolithic MSMers to swat them away because they won’t toe establishment lines on sensitive subjects. If they are unable to criticize Clinton, or Trump, or state-run pension administrators, or the Fed Board of Governors, or Jamie Dimon, or some other sacrosanct entity, they simply can’t do their chosen jobs, which are to promote critical thinking and the development of ideas that will help empower people to participate in democracy (or at least question plutonomy and oligarchy).

    A populace that can’t be trusted to evaluate independent viewpoints is a captive populace. Plain and simple. If you’re an MSMer reading this (and possibly writing down usernames like a McCarthyite bot), try to have some faith in the ability of readers to weigh and consider information and assign it probabilities of credibility instead of assuming they believe everything they read.

    Most people who read NC are here to learn and exchange information about economic and financial issues vital to the welfare of people everywhere. They want to make the world a better place. Many have been involved in social justice movements. They are inquisitive people seeking wisdom and knowledge to help improve the functioning of our society and our institutions, not headline-browsers who are just looking to absorb someone else’s template of ideas like a patch of flattened Silly Putty.

    This kind of attack is inexcusable and damaging to the fabric of society (just as Trump supporters’ pre-election cries of “jail Hillary for treason” were chilling reminders of nations where electoral losers or victims of regime changes find themselves imprisoned for political reasons). DON’T PARTICIPATE IN THESE TYPES OF TREASON-SUGGESTIVE ATTACKS. They’re a chute, not a ladder, and they head down a one-way path to fascism.

    1. JTMcPhee

      A L — Also can’t really afford to donate, but your statement of the case, added to all the rest above and what remains of my shreds of optimism, call out to make the tiny sacrifice of some money to help at least prolong and possibly deflect some of the too-likely agony. I feel I should be heading for the DAPL scene, to join up with other veterans who for some reason took their Soldier’s Oath to actually mean something:

      “I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

      So interesting that the oath is to the Constitution of the United States… I understand the Pentagram has a committee working on revising the Oath to remove the offending terms that apparently bring some Troops to see that the System don’t work the way they was told…

      Paypal is our friend!

      1. Katharine

        If you are heading to North Dakota, thank you! And thanks for meaning what you said when you took your oath!

  45. YassirYouBetcha

    In for a penny, in for a pound. A Benjamin sent via PayPal. If we are perceived as an army of sheep by TPTB, then they have assuredly erred in failing to perceive that we are led by a lion. (h/t Talleyrand, and perhaps Alexander the Great)
    “May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house.” George Carlin

  46. Arizona Slim

    And here I sit, across the room from a friend who just happens to be Russian. Which makes me part of this conspiracy. As soon as I get home to my checkbook, I’ll be sending some monetary love your way.

  47. lyman alpha blob

    I wholeheartedly welcome Outis aboard. Now when these slanderous ProporNot types single out NC for one of his posts, we can all truly claim that ‘Nobody here said that’ ;)

    Here’s wishing that you be as wily as Odysseus against the Polyphemuses (Polyphemi?) of the interwebs.

  48. Oregoncharles

    ” Outis is vastly nicer and more patient than Lambert or me,”
    If Yves and Lambert were “nice” and “patient,” the site wouldn’t exist or wouldn’t be nearly so useful. That said, there’s such a thing as too harsh. But we understand the connection between personality and the kind of site you run. (I hope that sounds as positive as it’s intended.)

    Who runs the libel site? Not WaPo (bad enough, but at least public), their source. Where is Anonymous when you need them? This is a clear case for hacking – not something I’m qualified to do.

    A serious attack on the new Internet sources of news was inevitable; not only does it break the propaganda monopoly, it’s seriously undercutting revenues at the newspapers, and probably TV, too. It’s not a coincidence that it was WaPo who published it. That means the attack is existential for a large part of the Internet; I hope the other sites understand that.

    Good luck with the defense, and keep us informed; we need NC alive and kicking (especially kicking.)

  49. KathM


    The PropOrNot website does seem to be run by juveniles. I looked at it today and saw that they have featured on Nov. 29th a comedy video called “Russian ThinkFluencers” from the show “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.” Apparently fake comedy-entertainment “news” is now evidence. (Also let’s not forget that Samantha Bee is a big Clinton supporter.)

    Here’s what they wrote:

    Also, for a sense of what certain kinds of Russian trolls look and sound like in real life, check out this Samantha Bee segment, which cleverly interviews Russian social-media and comment-section propagandists:

    Then at Reddit, they have a thread called “Hello world – PropOrNot is live! Let’s do this =) “. You can reach this page via PropOrNot’s contact page. The Reddit thread title seems to provide further evidence that this group is made up of juveniles who also have a grudge against the “alt-right.” One commenter wrote:

    IamSeth 4 points 3 days ago
    There is absolutely no chance that this subreddit will not be downvote flooded by the Russian, alt-right, and other trolls.

    Don’t be surprised if their defense will be “we are just a satirical website exercising our first amendment rights” even as they try to shut down others’ first amendment rights using the Washington Post and other “news” outlets to run their smear as legitimate news.

  50. KathM


    Here is bit more information about PropOrNot. I believe, just based on initial research, that it was started by a Redditor named “herefortrash.” Moderators at PropOrNot’s reddit site are herefortrash (member for 4 years) and PropOrNot.

    From Reddit:

    111 readers
    created by herefortrash
    a community for 1 month

    At one reddit thread questioning Nutritionfacts.org inclusion on the list, PropOrNot stated they’d do an internal review. One commenter then stated: “From…all two of you?” Another commenter suggests PropOrNot is linked to Correct The Record (CTR).

    [–]PropOrNot 2 points 7 days ago
    That’s a fair question! We’ll flag it for internal review.

    [–]infinitysnake 4 points 4 days ago
    From…all two of you?

    [–]crash6674 3 points 3 days ago

    So it may be just run by one person with a cult following of like-minded redditors.

    1. UserFriendly

      Thanks for that, I just found my new favorite subreddit. I had a good solid laugh over “all two of you?” Nice to see them getting trolled on their own turf.

  51. Elizabeth

    This smear is nothing but an attack on a free press. What’s next – book burnings? Anyway, I’m sending a donation to fight this McCarthyism. I read many of the sites listed on PropOrNot, but NC, for me, is the best, and truly indispensable. Boycott Amazon!

  52. salvo

    well, from the tweets I’ve got the impression that they are not even trying to hide that their intention is just to smear their targets, it looks like they want them to know they are targeted, it’s seems above all a threat, an attempt to intimidate, spread fear, especially by hinting to provide a plugin to brand them. It’s as much disgusting as disturbing. In my view those people act like thugs, on whomever’s behalf, trying to still their victims

  53. ex-PFC Chuck

    Does anyone know whether the writer of the Post piece, Craig Timberg, is any relation to the recently deceased Robert Timberg, who was also a journalist and writer? Twenty years ago the latter Timberg published a superb book on the Iran Contra scandal centered on the five USNA graduates who were involved in the clusterf**k and/or its aftermath: John McCain, James Webb, Oliver North, Robert McFarlane, and John Poindexter. Robert Timberg himself is a USNA graduate and was gravely wounded as a Marine officer in Vietnam. IIRC he endured over a dozen reconstructive surgeries in vain attempts to mitigate the effects of the disfiguring injuries he suffered.

      1. ex-PFC Chuck

        Thanks. I suspect you’re right. Apples falling close to the tree and all that. I’ve reserved the elder Timberg’s memoir, Blue-Eyed Boy, in which he deals with the physical and psychological after effects of his injuries. It’s likely I can confirm the connection there.

  54. Glen

    First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

    -Mahatma Gandhi

    The donation’s in the mail. Go get ’em.

  55. Bryan

    Subscribed during the last campaign. Told many others they should too.

    It’s an ugly panic, with historical precedents.I think Yves’ point about the Washington Post is an interesting angle to consider, but the media are participating because they feel threatened by Facebook’s entry into the news market and can leverage the panic to potentially discipline Facebook.


  56. nothing but the truth

    it has already reached the point that far more interesting (and relevant) than the articles in MSM are the reader comments.

    And so now there are paid commenters (especially defending Israel).

    Policing of commenters would be next. You should be careful posting with real names on the internet, especially on “russian propaganda sites”.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      This is why we pay a lot more in hosting costs to have our very large comments database on our server. If we used a third party service like Disqus, and someone wanted to try to get to the identity of a commentor for a spurious legal reason, the third party service would fold. They make no money and would not fight. New York has strong shield laws and we would.

  57. George Phillies

    I sent my $1000. You all should do the same.

    Having said that, I am seeing an interesting trend in multiple very different places, namely referring to the Washington Post and the NY Times as “fake news sites”.

  58. Kurt Sperry

    One thing I did, and that others can as well, is to report the extension they wrote as abusive in the Chrome extension store, and if you download it you can write a brutal review and then uninstall the extension.

  59. RBHoughton

    I think its overall a good sign. The MSM has realized its monopoly on news distribution has slipped and it needs to recover a semblance of its former reputation. That is unlikely imo. In my lifetime I have observed with impatience the slow speed that good ideas need to take off on this planet. Now the digital press has taken over the provision of news for a large part of the English-speaking population, it will be a very long time before WaPo and the rest can recover the confidence of readers.

    Actually WaPo is a special case because it circulates on the beltway where everyone’s secluded from reality but the other daily papers will have a hard time.

    I am a daily reader of the Guardian, a UK paper with two centuries of good reputation behind it. It started up when social order in UK had collapsed under harsh conditions and government proposed to use artillery to effect crowd control. A few years back the Guardian had the Ministry of Truth come in to destroy computers. Purveying news is not an easy job. That’s why in USA journalists like the people at NC enjoy special protection under the Constitution.

    This initiative by WaPo on behalf of ‘you know who’ is bound to fail. I expect to see petitions, marches and whatever else is appropriate until the country comes to its senses. I salute Yves and her staff.

  60. Sluggeaux

    Long busy day — just got around to flipping a C-note into the hat.

    This litigation needs to happen, and the WaPo will use ScAmazon and Bezos’ virtually unlimited finances to draw it out as expensively as possible using lawyers who place the almighty dollar over the sort of legal ethics that were taught 40 years ago.

    I suspect that The Masters of the Universe are going to be lashing-out to blame all and sundry for their exposure as frauds. It’s pretty clear that Bezos was simply using the Post as a means of ingratiating himself with the Clintons in order to extract even more concessions favoring his ScAmazon rent-extraction scheme.

  61. barrisj

    I have in the past been a fairly generous supporter of NC, despite being one on a fixed retirement income, but have gotten into some serious aggro with the Lambert person over time, which led me to not donate to this year’s fundraiser…however, the news that a third person will be added to the staff, also dealing with the accursed “moderation” business, and who is said to be of a “kinder, gentler” persuasion than the incumbents has encouraged me to re-up in view of the scurrilous and flagitious attacks by the WaPo upon NC and other independent bloggers not following the company line. A donation is forthcoming, and I can only hope that this site, in the coming Trump era, will be able to keep putting the boot in where it is most particularly deserved.

  62. ewmayer

    My favorite quip about the WaPo Red-baiting was this one in “The Fake News Fake Story” from Philip Giraldi at The American Conservative:

    “The mainstream media, which clearly is having some difficulty in explaining why anyone should pay attention to it, is eager to discover new reasons why the reporting in the lead-up to the elections was so awful.”

    With regard to the odious Creel Committee, the problem is that institutional memories are too short – go beyond one generation and the lessons invariably become unlearnt. To illustrate a specific “where have we heard this before?’ example, in the 19-teens the Creel Creeps were pumping out lies about The Huns spitting babies on bayonets … 75 years later, in the propaganda-campaign runup to the first Gulf War we had brutish Iraqi soldiers ripping preemies out of incubators in Kuwaiti hospitals and throwing them on the floor, a story spread by a tearful Kuwaiti young lady ‘eyewitness’ who was later revealed to be the daughter of the kuwaiti ambassador to the US. Wikipedia:

    The Nayirah testimony was a false testimony given before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus on October 10, 1990 by a 15-year-old girl who provided only her first name, Nayirah. The testimony was widely publicized, and was cited numerous times by United States senators and President George H.W. Bush in their rationale to back Kuwait in the Gulf War. In 1992, it was revealed that Nayirah’s last name was al-Ṣabaḥ (Arabic: نيره الصباح‎‎) and that she was the daughter of Saud Al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States. Furthermore, it was revealed that her testimony was organized as part of the Citizens for a Free Kuwait public relations campaign which was run by American Hill & Knowlton for the Kuwaiti government. Following this, al-Sabah’s testimony has come to be regarded as a classic example of modern atrocity propaganda.

    I especially like the bit about the high-powered U.S. PR firm making this stuff up out of whole cloth – a real professional ad campaign there, folks. I wonder if Hill & Knowlton won one of thos ad-industry Cleo awards for their efforts? They certainly deserved an award of some kind.

  63. Jake

    I sent funds for this campaign a few days ago, but I had not read this description of the action plan at that time. It’s time to double down, I’m sending more today. This must be nipped in the bud, these people may never “get it” but if possible we need to try to teach the lesson that pulling a stunt like this backfires when they are trying to subvert an intelligent, motivated and well-educated group.

    NC continues to be my fount of knowledge and support network all rolled into one. I cannot afford to lose you.

  64. TJ Madison

    Hmmm….Are you sure you want to spend the time and effort, not to mention the money, it will take to ‘fight’ this? Is it worth it? Sure, first reaction to defamation/slander is to fight but, what do you win? Satisfaction of proving yourself wrongly accused? Is the price worth the possible result?
    The juveniles who are behind this are just that; juveniles. They have no strategic sense whatsoever. What is the traffic on this site since the article was published? Who has benefited the most from their clumsy effort? WaPo has proven themselves to be what we all knew they were; meme pushers suffering from the same malady the rest of MSM is, namely, BPD.
    I suggest a deep breath or two and the formulation of a serious strategic plan. I think you can come up with a plan that pays far more dividends than a frontal assault would. Just my opinion.
    He who takes up arms against another commonly wounds himself, and the avenger should remember the words of Napoleon, “Never interfere with your enemy when he is making a mistake.”

    1. integer

      These kinds of things need to be nipped in the bud and lessons need to be taught. Wouldn’t want to be them (lllpropornotlll, lllWaPolll, etc) right now, that’s for sure.

  65. LA Mike

    Am I understanding this correctly?

    The Washington Post linked to some truly ghetto website’s hardly readable report on news websites that support Russian interests. Barely viewable at a tiny font, one finds NC amongst others.

    Is this that big of a deal? Maybe, I don’t know.

    Just some stream-of-consciousness thoughts:

    1) ZeroHedge really is quite pathetic. The former writer indicated as much. Is it Russian? Probably not.
    2) Did anyone even read the Post article, go to the link… and even notice Naked Capitalism?
    3) Fake News is a reality of modern times, the internet. What isn’t fake news? Did Bush Jr. win Florida? Is there a human being more devoid of manhood than Andrew Ross Sorkin? He makes Pee Wee Herman look like Rambo. Is the stock market actually up or down for the reasons given? Is Social Security broken? Of course not. They took the funds out of it. Fake news is everywhere.

    What’s with all the Hillary/Democrats-bashing? Jesus… you’d think the progressives around here hate them more than the Koch brothers. What gives? It’s odd, and could justifiably make a Clinton paranoid. This is a woman who tried to get health care done in 1994. Isn’t it possible that she simply isn’t that great of a leader/politician… as opposed to evil incarnate?

    What’s up with all the anti-Clinton stuff? It’s at a fever pitch. What have they done that was so bad? Peace and prosperity under Bill wasn’t too awful as 8 year eras in human history go. I blame him for the repeal of Glass-Steagall, but again, he certainly wouldn’t be found any my list of worst presidents.

    And as I asked on another thread… where was all of this antipathy for Obama? In my mind, he was a true disgrace. This supposed force for change did jack when he had the house and senate. It was the most disturbing moment for progress.

    I think so much of this has to do with race. A majority of commenters here are likely white (I am)… and they’re far more comfortable attacking Clinton than Obama. What has she done that’s so much worse?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I gather you haven’t been reading much.

      1. If you Google “PropOrNot” it has over 7 million entries. The site has been linked to by USA Today and BuzzFeed, as well as other MSM sites that re-reported the story. The Washington Post doubled down today. Many well regarded journalists, both on their sites (Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi), and respected financial commentators (Bill Black, Wall Street on Parade) and on Twitter depicted this specifically on Naked Capitalism as well as the other sites listed.

      2. We did criticize Obama, regularly and harshly.

      3. Please read Tom Frank’s Listen, Liberal for how Democrats, and the Clintons in particular, have sold out working people while pretending otherwise. That is what the ire is all about and it is fully deserved.

      Please do your homework before piping up here as well as reading our site Policies before commenting. This is not a chatboard and we have standards for comments.

    2. Paula

      Did you catch her AIPAC speech? How about “We came. We saw. He died.”? At least Obama said he regretted Libya. Clinton would have been all in. Her jobs program would have been a return of the military draft.

    3. washunate


      I recommend doing some reading in these parts. You throw out sensationalist rhetorical questions as if they’re supposed to embarrass or stump us.

      The thing about Yves is that she actually has detailed, thoughtful, patient answers. She is far more patient and forgiving and understanding than some of us tend to be on such drivel. So welcome aboard. When you’re done perusing the years’ worth of analysis on the subject, you’ll be wondering why there isn’t more Democrat-bashing. The Democratic party leadership is directly responsible for public policy over the past couple decades. It’s not solely Clinton. It’s not solely Obama. It’s not solely anyone. This isn’t a problem of one uniquely bad leader. Rather, it’s a fundamental, systemic failure of leadership from the entire Democratic party. That does not, of course, absolve Clinton of her particular role in the fiasco. The lack of agency in critiques of our system is one of the major challenges in leftist discourse. People want to blame convenient villains like the Koch Brothers instead of the people in positions of power and authority actually making decisions while simultaneously marginalizing dissent.

      Pick a policy area you care about, and Democrats either pushed bad legislation, prevented good legislation, failed to enforce good laws, or enforced bad ones. Or if you’re of the personnel is policy line of thinking, look at all the appointments made by Democratic Presidents and affirmed by Democratic Senators.

      One note on critiquing Obama specifically. Where have you been? NC has been one of the very few leftist places where people engaged in substantive and sustained criticism about the Obama Administration. Lambert’s exploration of Obamacare in and of itself is more detailed criticism than the combined totality of every establishment Dem website out there in the vaunted Netroots.

      Is there a particular area of policy that interests you where you think people are insufficiently critical of Obama or too critical of Clinton? Without some specifics, I am having real trouble following your line of thinking.

  66. Paula

    The Prop Or Not site doesn’t even have an About section, let alone a roster of writers and editors. It’s like a cheesy fake site. Now that I think about it, it screams David Brock.

  67. Paula

    Did you see the reporter on last night’s PBS NewHour talking about a big infrastructure program that would fix rail and bridges as being different from a “crazy left-wing Democrat” infrastructure plan? He did. He said that on TV. So glad I’ve found France 24 on the sub-channels cause I don’t do cable.

  68. root

    With apologies, I haven’t read comments here or at Greenwald’s piece. I have doubts about legitimizing/dignifying the piece with a response. It must be about posting the Michael Hudson work?

    Stay focused, don’t interrupt while your enemies destroy themselves?

  69. KathM

    The Washington Post, ProporNot clowns, and other “news” organizations and websites that play loosely with the facts will likely face increasing scrutiny under President Trump’s administration. Last February at a Texas rally Trump vowed to “open up libel laws.” Considering that Melania Trump has recently threatened to sue a person who posted a libelous youtube video about her son, and that Peter Thiel financially helped Hulk Hogan in his successful suit against Gawker, I expect that the special immunity protections that websites and organizations hide behind to publish fact-free content will be altered. Whether we agree with this or not, change is coming.

    I applaud your efforts to counter such smears (and I hope to contribute soon). Many small businesses have been financially harmed by websites (usually run by large corporations protected by large law firms) that allow anonymous users to make libelous claims about people and businesses. These abusive companies use the Communications Decency Act section 230 provisions to argue that their website is not responsible for content, yet these same websites rake in ad revenues off such abhorrent practices. Furthermore the CEO’s of such companies often have clear biases that freely allow some groups to make libelous statements while censoring/filtering the groups they don’t favor. For example, Reddit’s CEO has been altering pro-Trump thread comments.

    Internet “libertarian” corporations that constantly scream “free market/free speech!” but ironically use government laws to protect themselves are the ultimate in hypocrisy. Remove or change those laws (special government protections) and things will get very interesting.

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