In case you missed it, an anonymous website called ProporNot.com has recently sprung up on the web with a list of supposed Russian propaganda sites. Its tagline is “Your friendly neighborhood propaganda identification service since 2016!”
There is no WHOIS information about the site other than it was registered through GoDaddy.com. It has only existed since August 2016. The bio on the site claims it is “an independent team of concerned American citizens with a wide range of backgrounds and expertise, including professional experience in computer science, statistics, public policy, and national security affairs,” but the site has refused to identify anyone involved with it.
The list it released includes some 200 websites, The Daily Sheeple included, that it claims are part of a “large-scale information campaign” that “is deceptively injecting Russian propaganda into American public discourse online” and that “this propaganda is undermining our public discourse by providing a warped view of the world, where Russia can do no wrong, and America is a corrupt dystopia that is tearing itself apart.”
We at The Daily Sheeple have never written that “Russia can do no wrong”. We have, however, written extensively about the wrong done by our own government, however, as have many sites on the list.
That is what the press is supposed to do… hold our government accountable. It’s why founding father Thomas Jefferson once said, “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”
Most major alternative news sites and information sites are on said list, including Wikileaks, DCLeaks, Global Research, Zero Hedge, Activist Post, Natural News, Washington’s Blog, Drudge Report, and many others. Just like the other so-called “fake news” list widely publicized in the mainstream media, this one is obviously biased, pro-American mainstream establishment, and thus, it’s kind of like the pot calling the kettle black.
It seems as if anyone who writes anything against the American government is automatically being accused of peddling Russian propaganda now. The site doesn’t discuss the fact that outlets like Russia Today report on events that the American mainstream media blacklists, thus leaving the alternative media little choice but to search for information from an outlet that will actually report on them.
There is no proof of who actually runs ProporNot.com. There are no names anywhere on it. Anyone can write a bio that claims a site is run by a team of experts, but that does not automatically make it true.
Worse, though, is that Washington Post wrote a hit piece on all the sites included on ProporNot’s list, claiming the site is literally run by “experts” — without any due diligence or a shred of proof other than the site’s own claims.
Titled, “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say,” the WAPO story not only upholds the claims of a random, anonymous, and relatively new website, but a website that is formally calling on the FBI to investigate us and other alt news sites on the list for espionage:
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 25, 2016
Does the obvious really need to be pointed out here?
@ggreenwald “no, we just want you to echo OUR propaganda, not Russia’s or we will prosecute you, not McCarthyism at all!”
— Matt Cox (@mattwsm) November 25, 2016
WAPO apparently got the list from the site ahead of its release and is really pushing its legitimacy, referring to it authoritatively as a “monitoring report”:
PropOrNot’s monitoring report, which was provided to The Washington Post in advance of its public release, identifies more than 200 websites as routine peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season, with combined audiences of at least 15 million Americans. On Facebook, PropOrNot estimates that stories planted or promoted by the disinformation campaign were viewed more than 213 million times.
The site, which is supposedly run by “experts,” sends out Tweets like this:
Awww, wook at all the angwy Putinists, trying to change the subject – they’re so vewwy angwy!! It’s cute ? We don’t censor; just highlight.
— PropOrNot ID Service (@propornot) November 26, 2016
— PropOrNot ID Service (@propornot) November 26, 2016
Fascists. Straight up muthafuckin’ fascists. That’s what we’re up against. Unwittingly or not, they work for Russia. https://t.co/LBp2y19PTv
— PropOrNot ID Service (@propornot) November 22, 2016
Wow. Does that sound like people that WAPO claims are “experts” to you?
The site is also openly pro George Soros, leading to speculation of who exactly is really funding it:
This sort of thing is exactly why the Putin regime hates Soros so much: Because hatred, bigotry, and delusion are how they rule. https://t.co/FJiv0M7FAe
— PropOrNot ID Service (@propornot) November 25, 2016
WAPO has been called out by both The Intercept with “Washington Post Disgracefully Promotes a McCarthyite Blacklist From a New, Hidden, and Very Shady Group” and Rolling Stone with “The ‘Washington Post’ ‘Blacklist’ Story Is Shameful and Disgusting”.
Despite a glaring lack of legitimacy, the WAPO article was shared all over the place and republished in lots of mainstream outlets as if it was an “earth-shattering exposé” (via The Intercept):
Yet the article is rife with obviously reckless and unproven allegations, and fundamentally shaped by shoddy, slothful journalistic tactics. It was not surprising to learn that, as BuzzFeed’s Sheera Frenkel noted, “a lot of reporters passed on this story.” Its huge flaws are self-evident. But the Post gleefully ran with it and then promoted it aggressively, led by its Executive Editor Marty Baron…
The credentials of this supposed group of experts are impossible to verify, as none is provided either by the Post or by the group itself…
On top of that, The Intercept points out that the group was apparently dishonest about it’s “allies”:
More troubling still, PropOrNot listed numerous organizations on its website as “allied” with it, yet many of these claimed “allies” told The Intercept, and complained on social media, they have nothing to do with the group and had never even heard of it before the Post published its story.
After being called out on it, ProporNot backslid, later admitting to The Intercept that is has no institutional affiliations and the list of “allies” was amended to “related projects” instead. The Intercept concluded:
In his article, the Post’s Timberg did not include a link to PropOrNot’s website. If readers had the opportunity to visit the site, it would have become instantly apparent that this group of ostensible experts far more resembles amateur peddlers of primitive, shallow propagandistic clichés than serious, substantive analysis and expertise; that it has a blatant, demonstrable bias in promoting NATO’s narrative about the world; and that it is engaging in extremely dubious McCarthyite tactics about a wide range of critics and dissenters.
Rolling Stone had a similar take, calling out WAPO directly:
They may think they’re being patriotic (as many did during the Iraq/WMD episode), but in the end what will happen is that they will adopt the point of view of their political sponsors. They will soon enough denounce other reporters and begin to see themselves as part of the power structure, as opposed to a check on it.
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.
In short, the alternative media is under attack. We feel our website has been slandered as Russian propaganda when we are in no way affiliated with Russia. The allegations have been slung at basically any major alternative site who criticizes the American government, seemingly ignoring the fact that we live in a country with a Constitution and Bill of Rights which enshrine the First Amendment right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
In publishing unsubstantiated claims that the majority of the alternative media are now fronts for “a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign” based solely on an arbitrary list posted on an anonymous and obviously biased website, the Washington Post has shown less due diligence in its reporting than the supposedly less credentialed alternative media it is rallying so hard against. It feels like we’ve suddenly jumped into a time machine, with WAPO displaying a level of McCarthyism we haven’t witnessed in this country since the Cold War.
Ironically, the willingness of the so-called “real news” to regurgitate baseless pro-establishment propaganda is the pot calling the kettle black. Unfortunately repression and stifling dissent is nothing new, it’s just not the American way… and yet, here we are.
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Contributed by Melissa Dykes of The Daily Sheeple.
Melissa Dykes is a writer, researcher, and analyst for The Daily Sheeple and a co-creator of Truthstream Media with Aaron Dykes, a site that offers teleprompter-free, unscripted analysis of The Matrix we find ourselves living in. Melissa and Aaron also recently launched Revolution of the Method and Informed Dissent. Wake the flock up!