We Demand That PropOrNot Remove Its Blacklist, Report, and Browser Tool Defaming Naked Capitalism and Issue an Apology

As you will see from our earlier post on B.S. Detector, our attorney Jim Moody has had a busy day.

As lawyers like to say, res ipsa loquitur. Please tweet and circulate this letter widely.

The Washington Post, which legitimated PropOrNot, got more unfavorable press reactions to its continued refusal to retract its “fake news/evil Rooskies” story, more formally titled, Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say by Craig Timberg. Expert media commentators criticized the Post’s handwave in the form of an editor’s note that it placed at the top of a story that is now history, as opposed to news. The mild concession is likely to be read only by fans of the 199 sites that were defamed by the Post, and journalists who’ve taken interest in the row and not the vast public that read the story through the post and other major outlets, like USA Today, that re-reported or syndicated Timberg’s piece.

As the Columbia Journalism Review stated (emphasis original):

More importantly, the editor’s note vaults into verbal gymnastics in an attempt to simultaneously rationalize and distance itself from an obviously flawed primary source. Any data analysis is only as good as the sum of its parts, and it’s clear that PropOrNot’s methodology was lacking.

The Post, of course, was merely reporting what PropOrNot said. Yet it used declarative language throughout, sans caveat, lending credence to a largely unknown organization that lumps together independent left-wing publications and legitimately Russian-backed news services. The Post diminished its credibility at a time when media credibility is in short supply, and the non-apologetic editor’s note doesn’t help.

And from FAIR (emphasis original):

Almost two weeks after its article ran, the Post ran a sort of correction in the form of an editorial comment in italics pasted on top of the online edition of Timberg’s November 24 piece (where only those looking for the by then old original story would find it). In that note, the editors say that the paper

did not name any of the sites [on PropOrNot’s blacklist], does not itself vouch for the validity of PropOrNot’s findings regarding any individual media outlet, nor did the article purport to do so. Since publication of the Post’s story, PropOrNot has removed some of those sites from its list.

Of course, the damage was already done, as the original article achieved widespread circulation via the Post’s wire service; it would be up to all those news organizations that bought and ran the story, or reported their own versions of it, to make any correction.

Meanwhile, the facile dodge of “we didn’t name the sites” ignores the reality that the Posthad prominently showcased PropOrNot and let its name vouch for the heretofore unknown group’s credibility. The paper didn’t have to run the list; anyone with a smartphone could do a Google search, find PropOrNot’s website as the first listing, go to the homepage and find a link button headed “The List.”

And apparently plenty of readers did that. While thanks to the Post’s grant of anonymity, PropOrNot’s hidden principals remained safe from inquiring reporters and Russian hackers alike, editors of sites named on its McCarthyite hit list quickly found themselves deluged with venomous calls and emails. As Jeffrey St. Clair, a co-founder and editor of CounterPunch.org, another site listed prominently as a propaganda tool, recalls, “The morning after the Post published its article, I found 1,000 emails in my inbox, mostly hate mail and death threats.”

And from a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner by e-mail:

I am astounded by the editor’s note they appended to the story. The Post says it doesn’t vouch for PorpOrNot?? And yet, it cites them repeatedly and blind quotes their associates? I’ve never seen anything like it.

A partial list of additional coverage: a favorable story in the Daily Beast, in which we were interviewed (and the Beast has had at the top of its “Read This List: sidebar apparently since it was published till now) and TruthDig’s publication of the Post’s response to its letter. Several other sites, including two well-known ones, have said in the last two days they would like to join our suit (this is in addition to parties that previously approached us).


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    1. JTMcPhee

      Pressure? Demand letter? Sounds too much like a progressive web petition to my former attorney ears: “We request…” “Aurora asks…” But then I have not been working as a lawyer for maybe 20 years. I seem to recall that demand letters I saw from corporate and government sources tended to say “demand,” and “insist,” and “immediately” or “forthwith.” And said something about sanctions and consequences and stuff.

      But I second the notion that pressure should be applied — actually counter-pressure, since the first blow has already been struck and others have also joined in the casting of stones and aspersions. Will Bezos be funding their litigation team? Hiring “experts” who will “say” stuff?

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        The letter has a litigation hold attached. And my attorney is a serious litigator in DC with substantial First Amendment and defamation experience. The message is very clear.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Thanks so much for asking. Yes, since the Post is not backing down and we have more objects of legal attention. While our attorney is representing us pro bono, we still have to fund expenses, and things like depositions (recorder time) and expert witnesses are not cheap.

      1. oaf

        Hi! Hi, Yves!…How may I donate! Am working poor; and what you do is valuable to me. Would like to contribute.

  1. Sluggeaux

    Yves, do keep we readers posted on health of the litigation fund, in order that we may keep it well-funded.

    I do just love litigation!

  2. readerOfTeaLeaves

    …Expert media commentators criticized the Post’s handwave in the form of an editor’s note that it placed at the top of a story that is now history, as opposed to news. The mild concession is likely to be read only by fans of the 199 sites that were defamed by the Post, and journalists who’ve taken interest in the row and not the vast public that read the story through the post and other major outlets, like USA Today, that re-reported or syndicated Timberg’s piece.

    It all depends upon who you follow on Twitter, but from my check-in’s today, the WaPo is not coming off well.

    This whole ‘fake news’ mess is downright weird.
    I have trouble understanding how anyone can govern, given the growing legitimacy problems.

    It seems as if there are (very well greased) wheels within (extravagantly funded) wheels moving behind the scenes.
    Meanwhile, apparently Obama has formally requested that the Intel Community develop a ‘consensus report’ about the role of the Russians in this most recent election (per Emptywheel). “Senior officials’ in Congress have already been briefed, and some are apparently leaking: this much smoke signals a battle royale behind the scenes.

    The worst possible outcome, IMVHO, is failing to investigate and come clean.

    Every time our government is too gutless to deal with reality — whether WMD, or the Financial Crisis — the legitimacy of government is further eroded. It would be helpful if Hillary renounced the Presidency, and agreed that even if the election should be overturned, that she would defer to some other person. The investigation should not be used as a recount, nor as a re-do. It should function only to restore credibility to the US federal government, and for no other reason.

    Unfortunately for Trump, if he blocks this kind of investigation, it will only diminish his credibility, and weaken the very power he seeks to hold.
    Life is full of paradoxes and mysteries; this one takes the cake.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I agree with your comment re Twitter, but Twitter is heavy with journalists who love the story of a media fight. This is catnip to them.

      The Washington Post story was tweeted far more heavily when it first ran than the follow-on criticism was. The story proper got 14,800 comments. It was picked up by USA Today, CNN, and I haven’t even begun to track how many different other publishers. The original reach was at least an order of magnitude, and probably two orders of magnitude, bigger than the discussion of the itty bitty walkback.

      1. Presumptuous Insect


        Do you have a website set up for donations, like GoFundMe or Paypal? If you do, I am sure lots of us can help you to get the word out on twitter, etc.


        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Thanks so much!

          Please see our Tip Jar in the right column. It tells you how to donate using a debit or credit card, or send a check.

          We had a recent emergency fundraiser, and some of that has already been allocated to extra site coverage (to have others do more site-minding and content generation so as to free me up to spend time on this stuff) and the other part (a bit more than half the total) is to fund expenses for litigation.

          1. olga

            Hmmm, P.Insect is onto something – how about an equivalent of kickstarter (there are other similar sites) fundraiser – plus joining forces with as many similarly-minded sites and journalists? Newsbud site did such a fundraiser (before all this broke out); also Russia Insider. I would agree that, although a crude effort, there is probably much more going on in the background. Remember that McCarthy also started with a list…

            1. Presumptuous Insect

              I’ll be tweeting to see if I can drum up support–that is something we can all do! This is such an important fight.

    2. integer

      Poor ol’ (incontinent) Soros might not have another four years left in him so he’s desperate to start his much dreamed about war with Russia, the sworn enemy of his Nazi bretheren, by any means possible. Then there’s Israel, who are seriously butthurt that Russia is sorting out the Middle East chaos and has nixed their expansion plans. They will tire themselves out after a while but serious vigilance is needed until they do.

      1. hidflect

        That was another reason to avoid Hillary. She seemed to be part of the enabling strategy for Greater Israel.

  3. Generalfeldmarschall Von Hindenburg

    Is this episode really Bezos carrying water for a faction of the deep state? They had to have known that if you malign the entirety of the alt media-left and right that they’d show their teeny little teeth.
    I bet they feed this chump Timberg to the crocodiles ultimately. Meanwhile Mark Ames will ferret out the weird nexus of Ukrainian Nazi types. But since the WaPo will take the heat and the public will lose interest, nobody will care. But in the end the 4 or 5 folks who came up with this scheme will have achieved their goals:

    *Throw mud on non corporate news reportage.
    *Fire a warning shot over Trumps bow
    *Plant seeds with the population for the future when some ginned up provocation will again put Russia in the crosshairs of a black propaganda campaign.

    These archonic m_fers are relentless. Russia represents an independent power which absolutely cannot be permitted by Empire. This is part of a long term strategy to box Russia in. They are seen as the weaker of the Sino Russian partnership and are being targeted first.

    1. hunkerdown

      * Rationalize Section 501 in the 2017 NDAA, introduced two days before ProPorn’s grand debut, which calls for a Committee, in which light the call right after the election on radical idpol neolibs to “document, document, document” seems a bit creepier yet.

  4. Cheikh F

    I am surprised that no one has yet identified the creators of propornot yet. Just ask Russian journalists and they will tell you who these psychopaths are. In fact, the Russkies are probably laughing themselves to death over vodka at the puzzlement of the US media over identities of this “dark shadowy” group. The entire site, especially its semantics and amateurism, reeks of Joel Harding, who claims to be a former Brig General in military intelligence. Harding proudly describes himself as Ukraine’s King Troll and comes with a superb fake resume that stretches as long as the 3,000 freeware blogs he boasted to have created online supposedly to counter Russian propaganda. “Dark and shadowy” is how Joel Harding fantasises himself to be.

    Harding’s real business is in teen pornography, and a Russian-Ukrainian emigre called Kseniya Kirillova acts the go-between in sourcing pornography from Ukraine. A US Department of Commerce employee called Jason C. Groves smoothed the way for this troll and porn operation. I believe Groves was another low-ranking US army soldier who felt life had treated him badly.

    Others involved in this trolling operation are Paul Cobaugh who runs a PR firm called Narrative Strategies. This former warrant officer frequently mistakes a $100 dollar virtual company (the cost of the company’s website) for a global company but it is a delusion shared by other gutter trolls such as Eric Tallant, Charles Leven, Michael Woodson and Brian Tarling.

    Many members of this group claim to be “Jewish” and they shriek anti-semitism whenever their trolling is exposed online. They used to hang around Russian news groups and the Russian International Affairs Council group on LinkedIn until they were all banned. Word had it that the Kremlin was pleased with the rabid stupidity of these Nazis.

    Please refer to Case No. 1:16-cv-00384-AJT-TCB in the US District Court for the eastern district of Virginia, Alexandria division. This is what Joel Harding and his fellow trolls have been up to while he claims to perform his patriotic duty for the United States by helping Ukrainian Nazis counter Russian propaganda. It’s all about the porn.

    Anyway, as soon as Hillary Clinton lost the elections, the brains behind propornot: Aaron Weisburd, JM Berger (both quoted in the WaPo report by Timberg) and Kseniya Kirillova decided that Joel Harding should take the fall. The purpose? Well, if the Clinton-Podesta Pizzagate and child porn scandal is ever investigated by the Trump administration, they would now have a perfect patsy with a porn-peddling court record to take the blame.

    It has nothing to do with Russia or Ukrainian nationalism despite its pretences. This is about Washington’s child sexual abuse scandal that can be traced all the way back to Jeffrey Epstein’s Lolita Express which has ensnared both Bill and Hillary Clinton.

  5. rusti

    Not having witnessed anything like this before I’m having trouble understanding the strategy here. What potential end game is there in dealing directly with PropOrNot? Jim Moody’s time is valuable, Yves’ time is valuable, but they seem likely to be a few nobodies who no one would have paid any attention to if the Washington Post hadn’t amplified the reach of their amateurish operation by factor of a million.

    1. Clive

      I think you said it all there without maybe realizing it — PropOrNot may seem like harmless nobodies and, left to their own devices and not given the oxygen of publicity that is what they’d have remained.

      But there are no accidents in life. The Washington Post (and do keep in mind its owner) picked up on their output and played their tune on the Mighty Media Wurlitzer thereby amplifying it. That alone is suggestive that PropOrNot may not be the two guys working out of their Mom’s basement which it is easy to think they might be.

      Add in the fact that — worldwide now, I can tell you that even outside the U.S. this whole “fake news” meme is still getting lots of airtime, the BBC in England is running ‘Russia Hacked the U.S. Election’ stories right now as I watch and the Japanese language media has similar too — what the Washington Post is seeking to do looks very well orchestrated and coordinated it means that you must not take anything at face value here.

      1. allan

        The MSM is all in. Last night the PBS Newshour ran the first in a series of stories on FakeNews™, with favorably framed clips of Clinton and Sheryl Sandberg, and an extended
        interview with Marc Fisher of the WaPo. Oddly, no mention of the PropOrNot fiasco.

        1. craazyboy

          It doesn’t take a tin foil hat to believe the globalist-neocon-neolib-blob_thing feels it necessary to delegitimize Trump and Trump’s election in order to reassure its merry band of practitioners that it’s still biz as usual in the One World.

          And tho it may seem a challenge to re-paint “Lying Hillary” as the beacon of truth, challenges are what keep one motivated and ever stronger. No pain no gain.

          P.S. Irony Of The Year Award goes to Russia for hacking and releasing real news. If we are giving them the credit for DNC hacks and Hillary’s secret private server discovery.

      2. lyman alpha blob

        I went to a fundraiser last night where the very politically involved crowd was largely liberal and one of the award presenters brought up ‘fake news’ during her speech. If I’m not mistaken a member of this woman’s family was one of Clinton’s superdelegates. This ‘fake news’ meme is definitely being spread far and wide.

        Nuke it from orbit.

      3. Taras77

        I agree 100% that this propornot is not two bozos working out of their mom’s basement! The effort seems to have some serious money behind it and WaPo did not just casually stumble on to its efforts.
        Mark Ames, Marcy Wheeler, Glenn Greenwald all have written fairly detailed analysis as to why this is a campaign.
        Perhaps the most useful article I have found is from Wallstreet on Parade in which the Legatum Institute is prominently mentioned with some of the extreme neo cons involved. Legatum has serious money behind it-watchful attention is necessary IMHO.


    2. Yves Smith Post author

      We need to pursue the source of the defamation. See the BuzzFeed story yesterday, which is generally very sympathetic to our position. Yet even that reporter says, Why have you gone after the Post and not ProOrNot too?

      I think this is at the very most six guys and probably more like two or three, for reasons not worth taking the time to explain. And do not forget that the New Yorker said not only they but other major pubs were shown the story and passed on it.

      So the question is more: why did the Post pick up on obvious rubbish and treat it as newsworthy? This may have less to do with grand conspiracy as much as a bad intersection of events, such as: the Post under Bezos explicitly placing much more pressure on reporters to churn out stories quickly, which means less fact checking; hysteria over Russia and fake news; and individual reporters and editors seeing it as to their advantage to be in front of a hot area, no matter at what risk. Recall the Post has run such nutty stories as one saying that Hillary’s 9/11 collapse was due to Putin poisoning her.

      1. Jack

        I think WAPO picked it up because they were obviously all in for Clinton during the election. Whether Bezos was the hand behind this or not, WAPO has certainly focused on Trump. They even admitted they were doing it as Bob Woodward disclosed in a Zero Hedge article. And of course, WAPO assisted Clinton against Sanders with their coverage which has been documented many times. Now Clinton is on the bandwagon of the fake news fiasco. She just gave a speech about it Thursday.

        1. scraping_by

          With a mysterious, unknown source, it’s not settled that the WAPO picked it up. They could be the originators of the story, and PropOrNot is a mask to hide their role. Part of what has to be unpacked.

          That the narrative is bogus is apparent, and that it serves blame storming for the rejected elites is obvious, but the standard for responsibility is different in the law world.

      2. rusti

        Thanks Yves (and Clive) for the responses. My concern is that if a shoddy three-man operation, paired with a useful idiot MSM amplifier, can provoke a response that puts sites like NC on the defensive and takes time from original reporting, it could be a template for quick-and-dirty future attacks against independent media outlets. It seems like the amplifier is the only part of the chain that can’t just change domain names and set up shop somewhere else.

        But I can see how ignoring them entirely isn’t an optimal solution either. I’ll keep throwing my change in the tip jar and seeing how it all unfolds.

      3. Rosario

        Yves, per your describing WaPo’s publishing history, I agree that incompetence is a first order explanation to be given over maliciousness for a singular incident, but repeated behaviors move my suspicion more on the side of maliciousness, and even if the maliciousness is not explicitly intentional (i.e. subconscious, neurotic commitment to a political framing, etc.) it should be regarded as malicious nonetheless. Ignorance is not an excuse, particularly when it is exhibited by those with hammers big enough to break things. I wish you all the best in this fight.

      4. hunkerdown

        Yves, the latest blog from Cringely made an interesting point: “None of [the Sunday Morning talking head shows] are in danger of being canceled no matter how bad their ratings. That’s because these shows — and their commercials — are aimed at an audience of just 536 people, which is to say the sitting President, 100 members of the U.S. Senate, and 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. You and I don’t matter to those advertisers and because we don’t matter those shows can charge a lot for commercials that are barely seen by Americans as a whole but very reliably seen by the 536 Americans who actually matter.”

        Consider the intersection of MSM oligarchs with names on buildings and “philanthropic” foundations. Civic-mindedness, in upper-middle-class culture, implies a civic standard and a civic duty to sync up to manufactured and/or consensus mainstream “reality” by reading mainstream news. Thus, for an oligarch who aspires to make policy and/or reality, the news media of the Capitol, or other places power and wealth congregate, is an attractive position in which to maintain control. A capitol’s local media naturally maintains a strong “word share” in the civic space and, from a public messaging standpoint, influences “reality” in the minds of those who adhere to that civic ideal. So, right now, the DC area is being saturated with black anti-Russian propaganda.

        After having thrown the bums out, it is assuredly the case that there will be fresher Members of Congress who are busy assembling staffs and lack reliable access to their local news. The spectacle of only two local papers, the very two which propagated numerous stories crafted and “placed” by the Hillary campaign and DNC, and that happen to be the most relevant and ubiquitous source of news to those spending too much time in DC dialing for dollars as it is, audaciously declaring themselves authorities on “real news”, is a sign of the same flavor of ill intent as, say, DARE. Ill intent doesn’t have to extend to the top, as Craig Timberg has his independent platform and some control over it (and at least some decency to wait until his father cooled off a bit before starting him spinning in his grave). It could have been any old lobbyist who needed a little drama and a little favor to get some official anti-Russian policy in place.

        1. John Zelnicker

          @hunkerdown – Excellent post. Thoughtful analysis. I’ll be thinking about it for awhile. Thanks.

    3. craazyboy

      The PorN site is a dark site. We don’t know who the principals are or where its funding comes from. YYYYvesYYY also said NC needs to know what jurisdiction to file in in order to pursue PorN, but that is not even known at this point. But in the Wapo response to TruthDig, Wapo stated they did have “numerous” discussions with some persons at PorN before running the story.

      So you got to shake the tree by the branches you can grab. The ball is now in Wapo’s court to state, “Journalistic integrity demands we do not reveal our sources in order to protect their safety.”

      Meanwhile PorN is calling upon the entire USG security apparatus to investigate 200 websites for Treason, but we are unsure about which country[government] Treason is being committed against in One World. This doesn’t sound like a very safe situation for simple minded provincial US citizen homebodies.

  6. Mike


    I have been browsing your links for many years now – I find them well balanced, genuine, thought provoking, and usually quite deep. And it is not just me – your quality is well recognized among financial online community and punditry.

    It is important you treat this thing with the right kind of attention. This is not mccarthian. If it would be, you would be locked down in some hole in a secret location. This is somebody claiming you have silicone tits and an extramarital affair with Michael Moore. Nobody gives a shit about this, or their software, or WaPo and thir article – even if it gets 10 million retweets. Twitter attention span is 1 minute.

    Sure, sue everybody. But never give them an aureola of some dark sinister power. Ridicule them every way of the step. Ridicule “newspapers of record”. Ridicule retweets. Have fun with it. Find new cases of such crap, where you personally are not affected. Help Melania Trump in her great fight against online violence :-)

    Just never concede to this as a “media fight” or “two versions of reality”. This has nothing to do with news or reality. Do not give them that ground. This is some insignificant ass claiming you have fake tits, and it was picked up by an obsolete marketing tool called WaPo. A claim of an extramarital affair with Michael Moore would probably get even more coverage and more retweets and I bet some cable news discussions about public health consequences of missionary position with such a voluptuous man.

    Make the most out of this opportunity.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      We are fighting a legal battle and a political battle. The need to do both somewhat restricts our degrees of freedom. The political battle is ultimately the far more important one, since the “fake news” scare is part of a major push to restrict content on the web, by de facto rather than de jure means.

      1. Synoia

        Not only control of fake news, but a strategy by the mainstream media to protect their advertising revenue stream, by forcing thenselves (and their masters) upon us as a monopoly of non-fake news.

        It is about money and control.

        And I ask again (rhetorically):

        What is the distinction between spin, propaganda and fake news, other than in the mind and writing of a commentator?

    2. tegnost

      you’re kidding yourself, every time lately that I look at mainstream headlines the fake news story is there near the top, can no longer stomach the news hour but another commenter says they’re doing a series…think about all those proper folks demanding their kids not read alternative views? The only consolation I can think of is that hillary lost because clearly this story was put out in advance of her losing and would still be amplified had she won,….the outcome looks bleak either way from here might as well fight it…

      1. Harry

        Yes, the irony of the fake media pushing the fake news story without any recognition of the obvious self-dealing nature of this story, or the shoddy journalism.

        But see it from their point of view – social control depends on having some kind of lever to influence public opinion. The rise of alternative media sources is very clearly a threat to carefully structured systems of social control. So they do need to bury NC et al. After all if the mainstream media was influential how could the candidate pretty much all of it supported have lost?

        I think in other industries this is called disruption. However you are now disrupting the business models and investments of important people. So expect a long and dirty propaganda war.

  7. Hoi Polloi

    I can tell you these fake news websites articles were heavily promoted here in Europe, so the consequences are wide spread world wide.

    I tried to explain the reasons and people behind ProporNot, but my comments were censored on 3 of the biggest digital newspapers in The Netherlands, some of them are in close contact with Soros.

    We have national elections in March 2017 and I can tell you the majority of the people are mad as hell and they know the news presented to them in the MSM are/were heavily biased towards Clinton. The MSM are sh*t scared what will happen in March 2017, an earthquake in the political landscape. All the liberal political leaders are now suddenly promoting political stuff that was unimaginable 2 years ago.

    I have followed your website on and off the last 5 years and the idea that you are guided by the Ruskies is absolutely preposterous even insane.

    I just wonder, was Wapo so blinded by the total unexpected loss of Clinton that they keep on publicing this nonsense or is it the trench war by Trump through his tweets. Wapo must have been aware of the amateurish drivel from Propornot and took a big risk of being exposed as havily biased and unprofessional with a heavy backlash.

    Anyways, I would like to donate to you in this battle, do you accept Paypal as well.

    I wish you and your team lots of success, Yves in this battle for truth.

    Fred from Holland

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Thanks for the intel and your willingness to help. Yes, we accept PayPal. Please visit our Tip Jar (the snow leopards in the right column).

    2. hunkerdown

      PorN was registered in August or so. Hillary’s campaign needed to avoid responding to what was in the Podesta and DNC emails. They chose Red Scare 2.0, and this strikes me as being planned when she expected to win, i.e. before Wikileaks revealed the internal mendacity of the Party and the fake impartiality of the Party. Imagine if she had won, what powerful side effects this same news would have on people’s lives.

      1. redleg

        And the legal discovery that’s on the horizon is going to be exceptionally interesting. Who is the puppeteer? Will the small resource defendant cave under pressure and sing like a bird to get out of the (coming) suit?
        Pass the popcorn.

  8. FluffytheObeseCat

    I realize that there were a number of right wing news outlets included in this de facto censorship effort. But, they seem to be in a much stronger position than the left wing ones. Wider distribution, less choosy about what they’ll run, favored by the incoming power elite, etc. Except, perhaps for a few paleocons-turned-libertarian-contrarians like Paul Craig Roberts. The Drudge Report types seem less vulnerable.

    I haven’t been paying as much attention as I should to post a comment. But, first order, it looks like this imbalance may pertain to targeting. No one could expect to dull the impact of the Drudge Report by including it in an app of this kind. It is simply too prominent. Therefore, dampening the influence of the Drudge Report (and similar sites) was not the point of this little exercise.

    Slurring the actual targets by including Drudge & company in the app seems…. more the point.

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      I was bad. I should never, even obliquely, ascribed anything to malice that can be explained by incompetence.

  9. Carolinian

    Last night the PBS Newshour did a segment on “fake news.” They are also participating in the current PBS pledge drive. Perhaps they are hoping that George Soros will send them a big check.

    One had hoped that the show would improve now that the election is over. One was wrong.

    1. olga

      I caught that (although it’s been a very long time since I watched PBS news (used to be a regular)). Was a bit surreal… they had an earnest Wapo journalist on to talk about the scourge of fake news. Somebody should have handed him a mirror. But no… the total lack of self-awareness was just another proof of the “world upside down” we now live in.

  10. Local8

    The MSM has lost control of the narrative. The big dailies continue to hemorrhage ad revenue, month in and month out, year in and year out. Their existence going forward will be even more dependent on government assistance. Fake News is the pathetic death rattle of the neoliberal order.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Here in Tucson, the daily paper isn’t much bigger than a newsletter. And they just had another round of layoffs.

      1. TimH

        I gave up subscribing to the local paper in both Bay Area and Phoenix. No news with any political contention, and sports material amplified beyond silliness.

        1. JTMcPhee

          The St. Petersburg Tampa Bay Times has eaten the former Tampa Tribune, arch-conservative rag, on the way to completing the flip from moderate decency to neoliberal Chamber of Commercialism. But they have some good coupons in the Sunday edition usually, so it still seems a worthwhile investment for me. And there’s always the comics, and if I want to get my juices flowing, I’ll read the op eds and Letters and of course the rag is the home of “Politifux,” that wondrous serial malapropism and generator of the worst kind of “experts say” faux nouvelles…

      1. integer

        …though “neocon” would be more appropriate than “neolib”.
        I wish both groups would just neo-fuck-off alredy. I’m sure the “neocons” would enjoy the Hague and the “neolibs” could just take all their money, in cash, to a deserted island somewhere and see how far it gets them.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Brave statement, “death rattle.” What I think I know of history is that the Blob of Power and Looting is marvelously durable and adaptive and will eat any and everything it encounters. Even our pop culture recognizes the meme, in movies and books like “The Blob,” the 1958 movie, which inter alia teaches us mopes to fear getting absorbed and destroyed by the Evil All-Consuming Communist Conspir-Insurgency:

      Jane’s young brother, Danny (Keith Almoney), fires at the Blob with his cap gun before running into the nearby diner. Jane, Danny, and Steve become trapped in that diner, along with the manager and a waitress. The Blob—now an enormous red mass from the people it has consumed—engulfs the diner. Dave has a connection made from his police radio to the diner’s phone, telling those in the diner to get into the cellar before they try to bring a live power line down onto the Blob.

      When it sounds quiet over the phone line, Bert shoots the wire, it falls onto the Blob, but the Blob is unaffected, and the diner is set ablaze. The manager uses a CO2 fire extinguisher on the fire. Steve notices that this causes the Blob to recoil, then remembers that the creature also retreated from the freezer. Shouting in hopes of being picked up on the open phone line, Steve manages to tell Dave about the Blob’s vulnerability to coldness. Jane’s father, Mr. Martin (Elbert Smith), knows there are 20 such extinguishers at the school, and leads Steve’s friends to the high school to retrieve them. Returning, the brigade of extinguisher-armed students and police first drive the Blob away from the diner, then freeze it, saving Steve, Jane and the others.

      Dave requests an Air Force heavy-lift cargo aircraft to transport the Blob to the Arctic, where it is parachuted to the ice. Dave says that while the Blob is not dead, at least it has been stopped. To this, Steve Andrews replies with the last line in the film, “Yeah, as long as the Arctic stays cold.”

      The film ends with the words “The End” which then morph into a question mark—suggesting that the Blob may return, ending the film with a cliffhanger.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blob

      The remake is even more telling — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blob_(1988_film):

      The [teenager heroes] discover a military operation led by a scientist, Dr. Meddows, who orders the town quarantined. Brian escapes a military van and collects his motorbike. Meg is taken to town where she learns her younger brother, Kevin, is missing. Meg learns he and his friend, Eddie, have sneaked into the local movie theater. The Blob enters the theater and attacks the staff and then the audience. Meg arrives as the audience is fleeing the theater, rescuing Eddie and Kevin.

      Brian eavesdrops on Meddows and learns that the Blob is a biological warfare experiment created during the Cold War that was launched into space because it was so dangerous….

      …The survivors retreat to the town hall and hold the Blob off with furniture-barricades and fire extinguishers, but it is a losing battle; the Blob engulfs half the building and devours Deputy Briggs. Brian goes to the town’s garage and gets a snow maker truck that has canisters of liquid nitrogen attached. As the Blob is about to consume Meg and her family, Brian shoots snow at the creature, which is angered and knocks the truck over. As the Blob surges toward Brian, Meg lures it away from him toward the canisters, which she has rigged with an explosive charge taken from a dying soldier. She tries to get clear, but snags her foot between two pieces of metal, leaving her trapped. Brian regains consciousness and runs over to free her. The Blob is about to overrun them when the charge goes off, blowing up the canisters and covering the Blob with liquid nitrogen. The creature is flash-frozen, shattering into a mass of crystallized pieces. Moss Woodley has its remains stored in the town ice house.

      Months later, at a tent-meeting church service in a field, Meeker, disfigured by his burn injuries, preaches a doomsday sermon resembling the Blob’s attack. He is then shown to have a still-living piece of the Blob, trapped inside of a glass jar.” Just a little souvenir, maybe it could be monetized and securitized somehow? “Pay me ONE. MILLION. DOLLARS! or I will RELEASE THE BLOB!”

      All too human, all the behaviors limned. And the set of people that end up running things always seem to be able to find a chunk of Blobmatter in a glass jar in someone’s closet, or “innovate” one into existence… and of course the Arctic ain’t so cold, any more…

    3. grayslady

      A friend of mine went to a McDonald’s for breakfast the other day while waiting for his car to be serviced. He asked where the newspaper kiosk was so he could read the paper while eating his breakfast. The counter person told him that they had removed the kiosk because everyone was busy looking at their cellphones now and no one was reading the paper anymore. So much for ad revenue that can’t be blocked.

  11. andyb

    I’m surprised at the lack of critical thinking about the “list”. It is a veritable hodgepodge of ideological viewpoints; from far left to far right and everything in between. So the list is not meant to attack any one specific political viewpoint. What all the sites have in common is that they are not politically correct in that they contain articles and comments that are anti status quo and anti establishment, most especially during the election season just passed. Too many “truths” have emerged that have to be discredited. There is one particular entity that has covertly and consistently defended the Establishment (and all of its crimes) for the last 60+ years; it is located in Langley, Virginia.

  12. JTMcPhee

    I’ve several times posted links and text from reviews of a book by Frances Stornor Saunders, “Who Paid the Piper: The CIA and the Cultural Cold War,” which if the scholarship can be believed (wink, wink) establishes pretty clearly that the CIA and related agencies have flooded the world with disinformation from their git-go. Even stalwart nominal apparent anti-totalitarians like “George Orwell” were involved in a full-court very deep effort to bolster the Triumph of the Western Will. Again: https://ratical.org/ratville/CAH/CIAcultCW.pdf

    For those who enjoy attracting the Big Algorithms’ attention, here’s the official CIA take on the book: https://www.cia.gov/library/center-for-the-study-of-intelligence/csi-publications/csi-studies/studies/vol46no1/article08.html If one pokes around the CIA web presence, the public one, one sees how proud these folks are of the damage they’ve been able to do and the misery they have occasioned.

    I hope people understand, and will remenber and keep in mind, that the generation of “fake news” by “Our Government” (sic), to bend our thinking and spread untruths, long predates this current BS meme of “fake news.” Let’s keep sharp in memory the findings of the Church Commission (there once were honorable men in the Senate) that the CIA employed maybe 400 “disinformation specialists” to feed a constant flow of really dangerous propaganda to us mopes through the media as it then existed. Search ‘CIA fake news’ someplace other than Google for a wide set of sources. Here’s one, with a lot of detail on the past CIA fake news operations: http://www.naturalnews.com/048342_CIA_fake_news_government_propaganda.html

    So glad our hosts are at least levying a defensive effort. One wonders, if one was brought up in the miasma of mythology and shibboleths about the “Sacred Nature of Freedom and Democracy in America Rule of Law Separation of Powers Civilian Control of the Military” liturgy, how in the he77 one is ever going to be able to discern real and fake in the Bernays bouillabaisse that the Rulers and interest-holders serve up…

    Stay small, little mice — don’t even squeak. Go about finding the scattered kernels of sustenance that the elephants and rhinos scatter in their feeding. Maybe you won’t get crushed, before you live out your natural term or some small predator eats you, or the Big Eaters finish off all the comestibles…

    1. uncle tungsten

      I notice that the President in Waiting has reduced the ‘intelligence briefings’ to a bare minimum leaving most to his VP. Wise move, for a while at least. Imagine the mess to your mind if you had to sit through these ‘briefings’ multiple times in one day.

      Trump does not appear to be a patsy for the CIA. They must be spewing, and if I were in Trumps role I would order the immediate publication of every damaging internal report ever commissioned by/on them.

      Did these loonies actually direct the ‘accidental bombing’ of the Syrian Army a couple of months ago or the most recent ‘accidental bombing’ of the Iraq troops at Mosul?

  13. jake

    I don’t know…. Am I the only one disheartened by the use of libel laws and threats of litigation to silence expression — no matter how offensive, devious, self-interested or ludicrous?

    Does Naked Capitalism want to get sued for asserting the Peterson Foundation is a shill for plutocrats? Or every time it criticizes Goldman Sachs?

    There’s no way to plug this dike anyway.

    1. flora

      The real fight, as I understand it, is against censorship, using the only tool available – libel law – in this particular instance. See, for example, Greenwald’s analysis from yesterday. (my emphasis)

      ‘ That journalists and “experts” outright lied to the public this way in order to help their favorite candidate is obviously dangerous. This was most powerfully pointed out – ironically – by Marty Baron, Executive Editor of the Washington Post, who told The New York Times’ Jim Rutenberg: “If you have a society where people can’t agree on basic facts, how do you have a functioning democracy?”

      ‘ Exactly: if you have prominent journalists telling the public to trust an anonymous group with a false McCarthyite blacklist, or telling it to ignore informative documents on the grounds that they are fake when there is zero reason to believe that they are fake, that is a direct threat to democracy. In the case of the Podesta emails, these lies were perpetrated by the very factions that have taken to most loudly victimizing themselves over the spread of Fake News.

      ‘ But the problem here goes way beyond mere hypocrisy. Complaints about Fake News are typically accompanied by calls for “solutions” that involve censorship and suppression, either by the government or tech giants such as Facebook. But until there is a clear definition of “Fake News,” and until it’s recognized that Fake News is being aggressively spread by the very people most loudly complaining about it, the dangers posed by these solutions will be at least as great as the problem itself. ‘


    2. Jim Haygood

      There’s a legal distinction between expression, and maliciously false expression disguised as fact.

      The First Amendment and laws against libel can coexist.

  14. Giovanna Goodthighs

    Interesting mansplaining from your new friend Mike at 6:25 Oh-dark-thirty. Note how he first attacks any notion of Wisner’s Wurlitzer with the standard macho CIA disclaimer, “No, you’re not being targeted, if you were being targeted you would be dead/ruined/disappeared.” To the same end Mike tries to color this clandestine harassment with the government-issue left/right divide – it’s right-wing nuts, that’s all. With the telltale authoritarian tone of a chairborne ranger, Mike officiously pushes you away from any notion of a ‘dark sinister power,’ rightly fearing that the rancid stank of CIA involvement would give this story monster legs. The germ of truth in his manipulation is, this is no dark sinister power. It’s just the usual CIA shitheads, the ones who everything they touch turns to shit, and this is no exception.

    Yves is wise to hold her fire on obvious CIA involvement until the probative evidence is overwhelming. But we all know that the Post is CIA’s house organ, Bezos is CIA’s bitch, and CIA’s losing its grip and panicking. Ames has already ferreted out a few of the cheesier cutouts.

    Last time somebody teed up to splinter the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it into the winds, CIA shot him. But this is Yves. Yves plucks speeding bullets from the air. Nice work, Jimmy Bond, you’ve swallowed the atomic time pill.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The CIA does not kill people domestically (unless you are an Edward Snowden or close to that level problem), so Mike is indeed seriously off base. But the flip side is that I have it on good authority that not only was the national security section of the Post not consulted about this shoddy story, they are up in arms about it. Plus see how all of the close buddies of the military-surveillance complex on the anti-Russia beat, most notably Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat, have denounced PropOrNot and the Post taking up their cause. PropOrNot is so lame that it makes the more professional actors on that beat look bad.

      1. Fool

        If Higgins was so bothered then his site wouldn’t still be listed as a ”related project”. Another thing, PropOrNot’s work being shoddy and lame on the one hand, and IC being involved on the other, are not mutually exclusive.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          The very day the Post story ran, Higgins said on Twitter he’d never heard of these guys and never gave them permission to use his site’s name. Others on the “Related Projects” list said the same thing. Yet PropOrNot refuses to correct it and said to Greenwald (essentially) that these are sites they admire. But PropOrNot continues to depict them as collaborators.

      2. Mike (from EU, that is Eastern Europe)


        I’m not quite sure if it’s okay to feel honoured by being addressed with “mansplaining” or “CIA apologetism”. As Yves can easily see just by googling my email, I come from an eastern European country that itself believes to be central european, and I curently live in the UK :-) Dont take me, or yourselves, or life in general, too seriously – but there truly is a wide world outside of borders of these great united states (now thats eurosplaining :-)).

        But just as I am not nearly important enough to be thoroughly research, I believe NC, let alone the PropOrNot are not nearly important enough to have a serious CIA attention – or any other serious governmental agency attention at all.

        I could be mistaken, and there is some grand plot to prevent all of us, the unasuming web users, from consuming the really inconvenient truth. I just find basic stupidity and preconditioned bias of the fraudsters and WaPo editors much, much more believable. Is that mansplaining?

        If there is some grand u.s. govermental plot to promote edited worldview through msm, it will be funny to observe the necessary turn from CNN-esque clintonian fake “humanistic social justice”, to Breitbartish trumpian fake “freedom and Americans first” quasi movement.

        I am quite worried about global degradation into some form of Huxley’s Brave New World, but I do not think we have come that far already.

        That’s why I have suggested ridiculing the protagonists of this stupid WaPo shaming, but I do understand that strategies are limited if you take it as a smaller part in a wider political challenge against msm bias.

        All the best to all of you.

        1. uncle tungsten

          A cartoon competition with publication on the propornotdotcom (if that was the site grabbed by Yves) being the reward and then NC and others can feature the occasional ‘laugh till you cry’ gem.

          I know it is just more effort for time stretched people but… laughter is a good solace in these tough times.

    2. integer

      There have been more than one handle containing “mike” (megamike, MightyMike) that have been disingenuous enough that it was clear to me that they were not merely misinformed. There is also someone who posts here (seemingly legitimately, but I could be wrong) under “LA Mike”, just to add to the confusion. Something to keep an eye on imo.

    3. Brad

      Yes the connections have always been close between the state and Silicon Valley. Just ask DARPA. Just ask Larry Ellison.

  15. jake

    @Jim Haygood

    Political expression *is* malice.

    Once the silencing starts, where does it end? The less powerful will not win this contest. Look at what happened to Gawker….

  16. sufferinsuccotash, normalized

    Maybe one way to counter Fake News is Fake Fake News.
    “Sources say the Washington Post is actually a front for a sex-slave operation that kidnaps 12 year old girls and ships them off to Bangkok”.

  17. Geoffrey Dewan

    Sent to Propornot email- propornot@gmail.com

    To the “Independent team of concerned American citizens”:

    Who ARE you guys? Why are you reluctant to come clean about who you are, where you’re from, what you learned and who you learned it from?

    What independent criteria do we get to apply to YOU that would assure us of your methodologies and motives.

    At this point, your reluctance to come out of the shadows reduces your credibility below the Russian propaganda you seem so anxious to expose.

    In short, why should anybody trust you?

    Geoffrey Dewan

  18. Synoia

    This reeks of “we can spin” and make propaganda – aka: Fake News and Lies, but to protect ourselves (us people in power id DC) from other people’s spin, lies and propaganda we need to control fake news.”

    One set of rules for us and one se of rules for them.

    “Grovel you peasant, when in the presence of one of your betters!”

    “How do I know its a better?”

    “You just know!” (aka: Public Schools Accent when speaking).

  19. Synoia

    Propornot has some significant funding:

    Propaganda Flagger Plugin

    NEW: PropOrNot Chrome browser extension BETA v0.0.6 highlights links to Russian propaganda sites while browsing!

    No link supplied on THIS site. One has to wonder what propornot do with your browsing history collected by their plug-in. Track sites visited, ask for money, extort (threaten exposure) AND blackmail?

    Potentially very profitable. Automagic extortion. A new rentier business model.

    Nice Job you have there with the Government. Pity if something happened to it!!

    We have a little list
    we have a little list!

      1. Synoia

        All code takes much more effort than the original e$timate.

        I did one engagement for a large financial company who has accepted an estimate fo $3 million from a large vendor, and were currently spending $12 million per month to deliver a 1,000,000 line of code “enhancement” to their call centers.

        Writing code – easy.

        Making it work in all circumstances – Hard. But maybe proporornot do not care about missing sites or false positives, bugs could be a benefit.

        I’m feeling cynical today.

  20. John Medcalf

    Finally someone of repute, Jeffrey St. Clair, has called out Jeff Bezos. Dancing with the Post reporter and PropOrNot will be as effective at stopping Bezos’ run for the Presidency as fussing about Trump’s birther statements was at stopping him. Sue the slanderers for sure. Simultaneously go for the head or move on to other subjects. No glory in causing Mr. Bezos a hangnail and you could be making him a hero to voters who need rabid politics.

  21. truval

    According to District of Columbia law, defamation claims have four elements:

    the defendant made a false and defamatory statement concerning the plaintiff;
    the defendant published the statement without privilege to a third party;
    the defendant’s fault in publishing the statement amounted to at least negligence; and
    either the statement was actionable as a matter of law irrespective of special harm or its publication caused the plaintiff special harm.

    See Jankovic v. International Crisis Group, 429 F.Supp.2d 165, 173-4 (D.D.C. 2006). The elements of a defamation claim in the District of Columbia are similar to the elements listed in the general Defamation Law section, with the following exceptions:
    Defamation Per Se

    In the District of Columbia, any written or printed statement that falsely accuses someone of committing a crime constitutes defamation per se. See Raboya v. Shrybman & Associates, 777 F.Supp. 58 (D.D.C. 1991). If a statement is defamation per se, the court will assume harm to the plaintiff’s reputation, without further need to prove that harm.

    If treason there be…

  22. Synoia

    At a linux terminal prompt:

    dig propornot.com


    at networksolutions.com, whois at the bottom of the page for the ip address above:

    NetRange: –
    NetName: GOOGLE
    NetHandle: NET-216-239-32-0-1
    Parent: NET216 (NET-216-0-0-0-0)
    NetType: Direct Allocation
    Organization: Google Inc. (GOGL)
    RegDate: 2000-11-22
    Updated: 2012-02-24
    Ref: https://whois.arin.net/rest/net/NET-216-239-32-0-1

    Prop or not meets two objectives:

    1. Discredit web sites other than Google.
    2. Supports Democrat Apparatchiks by Democrat Apparatchiks from Silly-Con Valley.

  23. kareninca

    I just re-checked the PropOrNot website – I hate giving them traffic, but it was unavoidable – and Snopes is still listed as one of their “related projects.” There are only sixteen “related projects.” I’m sure Snopes knows they are on that list. I contacted them when this first broke to ask if they were going to disavow the connection, but haven’t heard back.

  24. kareninca

    I don’t think that anyone has mentioned this, but the PropOrNot website has “0 Comments.” You can (supposedly) contact them by their domain name plus gmail. It really does seem like a shell of a site up by one or two people, who are not now supporting it. They claim to have a Twitter presence but they only have made a total of 327 Tweets and have a total of 1549 followers. The tweets are really lame and read like . . . propaganda.

    Their Facebook page has 424 likes, which seems like a trivial number (I have never signed onto Facebook since I think it is lower middlebrow, so I don’t know how to interpret it exactly). But it does have some good comments such as:

    S Frank Newbury
    Yesterday at 3:01pm
    Come on…you guys must think we’re stupid. You include on your shameful list Paul Craig Roberts, one of America’s most distinguished intellectuals and former public servants? This “service” you offer is clearly designed to serve only one sector: Wall Street…and their maniacal endless wars of aggression. Shame on you!!!

    Their Facebook page has as its centerpiece a list of how many times Drudge has linked the RT in 2016.

    Ewww, I feel so slimed. Just going to a Facebook page is disgusting, but going to PropOrNot’s Facebook page??? Ewwww.

    1. kareninca

      Oh, I see this must look like I’m promoting Paul Craig Roberts. I actually don’t know anything about him. I just like that PropOrNot is being berated on their Facebook page. Now I’ll have to investigate Paul Craig Roberts; I am making headway in going to all of the 200 websites on The List.

  25. Synoia

    Pure Speculation with absolutely no confirming data:

    Coming soon to an internet near you?

    Google News?

    If it were for Murdock is would be “Google Nudes” in the tradition of the Sun’s page 3 pictures.

  26. templar555510

    One wonders if this shoddy website PropOrNot has been put up on the net just to raise the ire of its supposed targets and appeal to the conspiracy theory junkies . That is possibly the least worst construction. The potentially greater threat is that it is a shot across the bow leading to a wholesale assault on the net . I don’t think there is any doubt that since the outset the net has posed the biggest challenge to every security apparatus on the planet and this move, if it has come from that quarter, smacks of panic and desperation such as we haven’t seen before, but then again we haven’t seen a figure like Trump appear before .

  27. flora

    an aside:
    When the real economy is working reasonable well for most people it’s easy to believe what the MSM reports. However, the real economy has been getting worse for most people over a long period of time and most people know it. Yet, the MSM continues reporting from a disconnected bubble. The wider audience knows the reporting is completely out of touch with their reality. So people start looking for other sources of news that seem to take into account facts not mentioned my MSM cheerleaders. ( I knew in 2007 something was very wrong with the mortgage market but the MSM assured me all was well. I started looking for information sources other than WSJ and NYT. )

    Now, instead of reporting on what’s really happening on Main Street and the reasons for the economic changes, the MSM seems to be trying to shut down news competitors by any means possible in an attempt to maintain their monopoly on the narrative.

    The MSM’s audience in the D.C. bubble may believe what the MSM says. The MSM dutifully parrots what it believes those in the bubble want to hear, imo. Instead of letting information in, they keep information out in an attempt to please. That’s a bad feedback system. The wider audience knows the MSM reporting doesn’t jibe with what’s happening on their Main Street.

    1. kareninca

      That is exactly right. Last night I went to the local Bargain Outlet grocery store in Palo Alto. I actually like shopping in discount stores; it is a plus for me. The woman in front of me in line was in her late 50s, very slim, and looked as if she should be shopping in a boutique in Stonington, CT. She was using an EBT card. I do not think that she was like me in enjoying shopping there. Seeing her check to see if there was any balance left on her card was kind of painful. Her situation matched what I think is going on in the economy – which I learn from alternative news sources. It does not match the MSM cheerleading.

      BTW, Palo Alto was not happy to get a Bargain Outlet store. They thought it was an inappropriate addition to their retail base. I knew it would do well and in fact it is doing brilliantly. There is a big demand here for discounted food. The unicorn teardrop-priced food market is already saturated.

  28. Hush/hush

    An aside: I’d like to bring up Thom Hartmann. Thom is a liberal apologist. He has a show on RT and he is NOT on the PropOrNot list.

    Thom is a radio host influential on the “left”. He’s had Bernie on his show for years (before Bernie blew up) and he makes all kinds of appealingly “progressive” noises. Yet, when push comes to shove, Thom consistently throws the left and progressive values under the bus.

    I grew up in a Democratic household. From a young age I was taught to question the disinformation spewing forth from conservative radio and Fox News. It shames me now that the liberal media spews similarly selfish, degrading and dangerous disinformation … and worse, my family believes it.

    I refuse to surrender to hypocrisy. Thank you NC for speaking truth to power! Thank you for being a font of critical thought and transparency in a desert of willful deception! … Please note the hypocrisy of a “PropOrNot” website that would blacklist you and not a “progressive” media presence that has a show on RT!

    1. Hush/hush

      I want to clarify a point about Thom Hartmann: I don’t mean to be superficially critical — I appreciate his voice and values.

      I think: He too easily compromises; he too readily rationalizes the (extreme) cost of “lesser evils”.

      I was recently accused of forgetting or ignoring “the lessons of the 60’s” … I was accused of being insensitive to the central tenant of race and (capital letter) Identity Politics. Essentially I was told: Identity always trumps class and I should be VERY AFRAID of Trump because of his Identity (not class).

      Hypocrisy! I think it’s instructive to quote from MLK extensively on this point:

      “…You speak of our activity in Birmingham as extreme. At first I was rather disappointed that fellow clergymen would see my nonviolent efforts as those of an extremist. I began thinking about the fact that I stand in the middle of two opposing forces in the Negro community. One is a force of complacency, made up in part of Negroes who, as a result of long years of oppression, are so drained of self respect and a sense of “somebodiness” that they have adjusted to segregation; and in part of a few middle-class Negroes who, because of a degree of academic and economic security and because in some ways they profit by segregation, have become insensitive to the problems of the masses. The other force is one of bitterness and hatred, and it comes perilously close to advocating violence. It is expressed in the various black nationalist groups that are springing up across the nation, the largest and best known being Elijah Muhammad’s Muslim movement. Nourished by the Negro’s frustration over the continued existence of racial discrimination, this movement is made up of people who have lost faith in America, who have absolutely repudiated Christianity, and who have concluded that the white man is an incorrigible “devil.”

      I have tried to stand between these two forces, saying that we need emulate neither the “do nothingism” of the complacent nor the hatred and despair of the black nationalist. For there is the more excellent way of love and nonviolent protest. I am grateful to God that, through the influence of the Negro church, the way of nonviolence became an integral part of our struggle. If this philosophy had not emerged, by now many streets of the South would, I am convinced, be flowing with blood. And I am further convinced that if our white brothers dismiss as “rabble rousers” and “outside agitators” those of us who employ nonviolent direct action, and if they refuse to support our nonviolent efforts, millions of Negroes will, out of frustration and despair, seek solace and security in black nationalist ideologies–a development that would inevitably lead to a frightening racial nightmare.

      Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself…”

      MLK’s words from more than 40 years ago, tragically, still speak for blacks in America today. They also now speak for the working class (white for not)… The protesters at DAPL… The youth that have had their futures foreclosed on by excessive student debt…

      I believe in the power of love and compassion. I believe in the many social justice initiatives of the Democrats but … where is the compassion among Democrats for the working class? Where is the outrage at the injustice of Income Inequality?

      Trump is not a devil… He’s a disgrace; a disappointment; a symptom of something awful…

      Will we (all Americans) rise above him? Will we fight for a future? For solutions? … Or will we wallow in a world of blame?

      1. Foppe

        Please read / get your family to read Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow. She discusses out how, starting in the post-ww2 ’60s, idpol was expilcitly/deliberately used to create wedges between union members specifically, and people in general. This does not prove that “race trumps class”; it means that when people get desperate, they will accept unequal/unfair treatment of others to save themselves (given that this is the only perceived option on the table. And it could happen in large part because the other side didn’t have a good counter-narrative that they kept pushing, that wouldn’t have allowed them to forget that it’s ultimately all about ‘class’ — rich v non-, credentialed v non-. (The other part of it was that it’s really easy to rile up liberals by pointing out “violence” (of the non-systemic variety, which is ‘the status quo’ to the privileged); esp. once MLK was gone, and they no longer had had a nonviolent center. (Tactically, it was foolish of him to allow himself to become the ‘center’, and to not teach nonviolence more broadly, and to make the movement more robust. But that’s hard, especially in the US.)

        1. Hush/hush

          Thank you for the recommendation. I’ve seen The New Jim Crow mentioned before in comments, I will be have to check it out.

  29. Fiver

    The Dems, WaPo et al, and now the CIA have gone to absolutely extraordinary lengths to blame the Russians, and nobody but the Russians, for intervening in the US election to help Trump get elected. While I believe the CIA fairly recently acquired the power to disseminate propaganda internally within the US, I wonder if an argument could be made that with this move they nevertheless grossly violated the injunction against the CIA interfering in domestic affairs this past week. Certainly there’s been nothing like this in decades and in some respects, nothing like it ever – what could be so important to the people spear-heading this? Why do they need a formal reading from Obama on the Russian ‘intel’ delivered before Trump is inaugurated? Or before the Electoral College votes?

    Would proof Russia hacked e-mails and gave them to Wikileaks be enough to trigger action by either the EC or Obama to nullify the election? I ask because it’s essential to know how much is at risk here. Are Dems so wound by this because they think they have a route to power, or are the senior Dem leadership on defense? Is this a Hail Mary, a prelude to a coup, a rabid, completely insane thirst for revenge against ‘progressives’, or is getting a finding that Russia hacked all those e-mails with the intent to harm the ‘owners’ what is needed to bury forever any further investigation into the Clinton e-mail/Foundation scandals?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Just so you know, an opinion by a law firm for another publication post the 2013 statutory change. Someone familiar with the opinion told us: “BBG funding would be actionable and most likely illegal… Lawyer said change left law still very murky but letter of law was still pretty clear if challenged in court.”

      The change specifically allows for domestic propaganda only to counter foreign propaganda. Hence the effort to pump up considerably the degree of the Evil Rooskie threat is both political but potentially also to provide legal cover.

      As a fiercely anti-Russian writer said on his website, Russia Without BS (emphasis his):

      So how bad is Russian propaganda, exactly? Should you be worried about it? Well I’ve designed a special test you can take to determine if you should be seriously worried about Russian propaganda. Here it goes:

      STEP 1: Determine your location

      Are you in Ukraine?

      If the answer is “yes,” you have a good reason to be concerned about Russian propaganda.

      If the answer is “no,” you probably don’t have a good reason to be overly concerned with Russian propaganda. You probably have plenty of dipshits spreading fake news in your country who have no connection with Russia whatsoever.

      STEP 2: There are no other steps. You’re done.

      At the end of the day, all this hysteria over Russian propaganda is essentially projection, and as others have pointed out this is very Putinist. Hillary and her supporters in the establishment expected her to win, and now that they lost they’re looking for anything and anyone they can blame. The white working class. Vote suppression (there’s some truth to this but it could have been overcome). Millennials. Putin. This is precisely what the Kremlin regime does. It tells Russians they live in a great country with strong traditional mores, but then when it becomes clear that this isn’t the case, the inconvenient phenomena or trends are blamed on the West.

      1. aab

        This made me laugh out loud. I was not expecting that in a comment addressing this appalling situation.

        I was very unpopular at a party today filled with Angelenos who really wanted to eat “fair trade” treats while commiserating about how all those stupid racists and sexists in this unalterably conservative country gave up their wonderful health care and terrific economy to vote for Trump.

        These were not rich people. They’re not personally benefiting all that much from our current economic regime — I mean, they are compared to someone living in a former factory town in Michigan, but they’re not health insurance executives or the like. It is kind of interesting that they would affirmatively rather believe that the United States is filled with horribly evil people than believe that the leadership of the Democratic Party has been and continues to be corrupt and incompetent. They kept saying factually inaccurate things, and I felt compelled to reply with factually accurate rejoinders, to which they would then answer with another falsehood. And I kept thinking, “Shut up! SHUT UP! You are not changing any minds here.”

        And I thought elementary school birthday parties during the refi boom were unpleasant.

          1. aab

            I have no idea. They’re prime candidates for Samantha Bee.

            I feel bad making fun of them even here, anonymously. They’re fundamentally decent people. I think if we lived in an alternate universe where Bernie got the nomination and we didn’t have plutocratic control of the media, they’d have happily voted for him. But they were also happy to make fun of me for phonebanking for Bernie in the primary. It was kind of interesting. Like, absolutely nobody knew any of the factually accurate things I was saying, and when the smug, headpatting “We’ll forgive you for supporting Bernie” moment happened, not a single one of them seemed conscious of the irony that they were all presuming they were smarter and more practical than me even though they backed the candidate that lost. The assumption was that I’m a fool for supporting the left, but I was backing a) policies I believed in with a long track record of working and b) the guy evidence indicated could win. But I’m the crank?

            1. Foppe

              I have no doubt that they are. You’re not making fun of “them”, though. You’re pointing to behavior that is dangerous, and that even in the best of times only gets you Obama, the ultimate “decent” guy. Because petit-bourgeois morality is all about enabling, not rocking apple carts, and codependency. It’s why, until the 1990s, Dutch reformed ostracized family members for talking about or protesting (incestuous) sexual abuse: because it’s wrong to put your personal needs (safety, bodily integrity, autonomy) before those of “the family”. And in hindsight, when they are no longer able to say that there isn’t a problem, all they say is ‘we never knew’ (though not in German). Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow is bringing this home to me once more. Nothing changes, until we kill liberalism (in all its guises) and meritocracy, with fire. Well, words. But anyway.

      2. Fiver

        Saw this fool/tool and his site sufficiently ripped by others in comments on an earlier story at NC so won’t bother.

    2. Foppe

      It’s not like they could do otherwise. If they hadn’t continued to push this nonsense, a space would open up begging to be filled with criticism of the role of said media’s own role in the past election soap.
      That said, it’s quite strange-yet-not how enthusiastically this nonsense is repeated in non-US western news media. This saturday NRC (~dutch wapo) had a big article about this. The Volkskrant (~nyt) has reported on it as well, although they did feel free to point to the double standard being employed. We’ll see if they realize that they’re being played, but I’m not at all hopeful, too many Gutmenschen.

  30. Jon Cloke

    It has to be the most Kafkaesque absurdity ever, almost. Attacking the ‘threat’ of fake news by writing an article that is itself fake news, a mere replication of the howling absurdity of a wingnut ‘list of enemies’?

    Well done, WaPo; thou art indeed that thing of which thou puportest to be the cure.

  31. Leigh

    I say you go full Monty Python on this. One way to counter absurdity is to out-absurd them.

    Have a “Wapo Week” – during that week; install a hammer and sickle design into the site, everyone must address each other as “Comrade”, post a couple nonsensical headlines in Russian.

    Sit back and watch their collective heads explode.

  32. Seeker

    I, for one, am grateful to the shysters at Propornot … I wouldn’t have found your website (and several others that look quite promising) without them.

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