Sunday, 1 January 2017

MSM False News

Guardian journalist’s bizarre claim Vladimir Putin’s New Year and Christmas invite is a threat to US diplomats’ children

Alexander Mercouris

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the Duran,

31 December, 2016

Guardian journalist’s bizarre claim Vladimir Putin’s New Year and Christmas invite is a threat to US diplomats’ children

Luke Harding claims the invitation from the President of Russia to the children of US diplomats to attend New Year and Christmas parties in the Kremlin is a threat to US diplomats, subtly reminding them that the FSB has "precise information" about their children
Reading Western media reaction to Putin’s decision yesterday not to retaliate in kind to Obama’s latest sanctions has been instructive, with the tone extending from the admiring, to the factual, and to the furious.
One comment however stood out as by far the most unpleasant, and it came (unsurprisingly to those who follow him) from Luke Harding in the Guardian
The statement wished Obama, Trump and the American people a happy new year. It further invited “all the children of American diplomats” to visit the Kremlin’s festive Christmas tree. Instead of playing the Grinch, Putin had taken on the role of Ded Moroz, Russia’s answer to Father Christmas. One Russian MP on Vesti TV said Obama was Bad Santa.  It was also a subtle reminder, for those who were able to decode it, that the FSB – the KGB’s successor – has precise information about the children of US embassy personnel. Russia’s foreign ministry on Friday tartly denied reports that Moscow was to close the Anglo-American school, attended by diplomatic kids, and the offspring of bankers and oil workers.
(bold italics added)
The claim that the Russians planned to close the Anglo-American school was indeed furiously denied by the Russians after it circulated for a short time in the media.

Luke Harding nonetheless conflates this claim – which the Russians of course denied, and which almost certainly did not originate either with the senior officials of Russia’s Foreign Ministry or with the Kremlin – with President Putin’s invitation to the children of US diplomats to attend New Year and Christmas parties in the Kremlin, to construe a threat by the Russians to US diplomats through their children (“the FSB – the KGB’s successor – has precise information about the children of US embassy personnel”).

This threat is however so “subtle” that only those in the know – including of course Luke Harding himself – are “able to decode it”.

That this is utterly paranoid stuff, turning an invitation to a party into something sinister, should not need saying.  What does Luke Harding think the FSB might do with the “precise information about the children of US embassy personnel” it supposedly has?  That this sort of paranoia gets published in the Guardian unfortunately shows how mainstream it has become.  I hope it won’t deter any US diplomats from keeping their children in Moscow, or from letting them go to the parties to which President Putin has invited them.


The Guardian faces claims it distorted Assange interview

British newspaper the Guardian has been heavily criticized for publishing a summary of an interview with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, which selectively edited his quotes. The interview was originally given to Italian outlet La Republica, and the misleading publication went viral on social media.






Washington Post Caught Spreading More Fake News About "Russian Hackers"



31 December, 2016

Readers of the Washington Post received some alarming news yesterday when the paper published a story alleging that those pesky "Russian hackers" were up to their no good tricks again and had managed to "penetrate the U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont."  The full headline read as follows:
Wapo
The opening paragraph of WaPo's story directly linked the "hack" of the Vermont utility to the same "Russian hacking operation dubbed Grizzly Steppe" that the Obama administration has blamed for the DNC and John Podesta email hacks.  Vermont's Governor, Peter Shumlin, told WaPo that "Americans should be both alarmed and outraged" by these actions perpetrated by "one of the world’s leading thugs, Vladimir Putin," before seemingly calling for further retaliatory actions from the Obama administration.
Vermonters and all Americans should be both alarmed and outraged that one of the world’s leading thugs, Vladimir Putin, has been attempting to hack our electric grid, which we rely upon to support our quality-of-life, economy, health, and safety. This episode should highlight the urgent need for our federal government to vigorously pursue and put an end to this sort of Russian meddling.
Moreover, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy took the rhetoric to a whole new level by asserting a diabolical Russian plot to shut down the U.S. electrical grid in the middle of winter...a move that would most certainly kill off half the state's population in an instant.
VT Gov
Of course, it didn't take long for the New York Times and ABC to latch on to the story since it fits their "2016 election hacking" narrative so perfectly.




View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

NEW: "One of the world's leading thugs, [Putin] has been attempting to hack our electric grid," says VT Gov. Shumlinhttp://abcn.ws/2ihEeZu 

Alas, there was just one minor problem, namely that the entire article was completely fabricated.  Apparently the esteemed "journalists" of the Washington Post didn't even bother to contact the Burlington Electric Department to confirm their bogus story...and why should they...it fit the "Russian hacking" narrative so perfectly therefore it must be true, right?
Well, apparently not.  The quick spread of WaPo's "fake news" story forced the Burlington Electric Department to issue a clarifying statement assuring worried residents that, indeed, their electricity grid had not been hacked, but rather a single "laptop notconnected" to the grid had been found to have a malware virus.
Vermont Utility
Which forced the embarrassed Washington Post to quickly tone down their provocative headline...
Wapo
...and supplement their original article with the following "Editor's Note" admitting the entire premise of their original story was nothing more than "fake news."
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Russian hackers had penetrated the U.S. electric grid.Authorities say there is no indication of that so far. The computer at Burlington Electric that was hacked was not attached to the grid.
Which drew quick reactions from twitter...
1) Not an infiltration of the power grid.
2) "Russian" malware can be purchased online by anyone.
3) See 1 & 2. https://twitter.com/Acosta/status/815041961572843520 
Statement from the Burlington utility, per that BFP story.pic.twitter.com/25cHENWh0a
Pretty amazing how badly the Post appears to have mangled this one. You didn't call the Vermont utility regulator before publishing?

...and Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept, who blasted WaPo for their "irresponsible and sensationalist tabloid behavior."
THIS MATTERS not only because one of the nation’s major newspaper once again published a wildly misleading, fear-mongering story about Russia. It matters even more because it reflects the deeply irrational and ever-spiraling fever that is being cultivated in U.S. political discourse and culture about the threat posed by Moscow.

The Post has many excellent reporters and smart editors. They have produced many great stories this year. But this kind of blatantly irresponsible and sensationalist tabloid behavior – which tracks what they did when promoting that grotesque PropOrNot blacklist of U.S. news outlets accused of being Kremlin tools – is a by-product of the Anything Goes mentality that now shapes mainstream discussion of Russia, Putin and the Grave Threat to All Things Decent in America that they pose.

Ironically, a few weeks ago we noted that The Washington Post was all too happy to promote an anonymous website that described Zerohedge as "'dark gray' propaganda, systematically deceiving its civilian audiences for foreign political gain" (see "Washington Post Names Drudge, Zero Hedge, & Ron Paul As Anti-Clinton 'Sophisticated Russian Propaganda Tools'"), all while presenting exactly zero evidence to support their preposterous claim.  Perhaps it's time for WaPo to dedicate a bit more of its time to self-reflection.



1 comment:

  1. Item 1. Happy new year to Robin and blog readers everywhere. All the best to you.

    Item 2. For the benefit of readers outside of the USA, 2016 will go down as the year that,inside the USA, the mainstream media/government propaganda machine stepped up the game by orders of magnitude.

    To any student of disinformation techniques, it is a steady stream of case studies right out in the open. The most disturbing part is, that there is no attempt being made to hide or disguise it. It is just continuous everywhere, like a hard driving rainfall.

    Equally disconcerting is how most of my fellow citizens take it at face value without any critical analysis or questioning, and that they are disturbed by the skepticism of others.

    History has a lot to teach us about this kind of thing. With luck, we will remember it.

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