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January 04, 2017

The National Laughingstock Doubled Down on Deception In Making False Statements to the Public In Defense of Its Indefensible "Russia Hacked Vermont's Electric Grid" #FakeNews

The Washington Post is The National Laughinstock and I'll call it that from now on.

They didn't just peddle more #FakeNews from their limitless stock of the stuff-- they then offered false statements to explain why their #FakeNews was so abysmally fake.

Via Jazz Shaw,this Forbes demolition derby is worth reading in full. I can't except enough of it to make it make sense without "excerpting" it all, so you'll have to just bite the bullet and read the article.

But the gist of it is this: The National Laughingstock, attempting to explain its latest #FakeNews fiasco, claimed falsely that they had in fact contacted the relevant power companies to see if the story was even remotely true.

But it turns out they didn't -- not until after the story had been published.

They didn't even do that tiny amount of fact checking until after they'd injected this viral #FakeNews into the national bloodstream.

It turns out that the reason that Burlington Electric did not response to the Post's prepublication request for comment is that the Post actually did not reach out for comment until after it had already run its story. The Post's article went live on its website at 7:55PM EST, but according to Mr. Kanarick, the first contact from the Post was a phone call from reporter Adam Entous at 8:05PM, 10 minutes after the Post's story had been published.

It is simply astounding that any newspaper, let alone one of the Post's reputation and stature, would run a story and then ten minutes after publication, turn around and finally ask the central focus of the article for comment. Not only does this violate every professional norm and standard of journalistic practice, but it feeds directly into the public's growing distrust of media. In the era of "fake news" hysteria where publications like the Washington Post tout their extensive fact checking and vetting workflows as reasons that the public should trust their reporting over anyone else, it is surprising to see just how chaotic or non-existent that fact checking really is.

What exactly is "fact checking" when a newspaper runs a story and only calls the party involved after publication for comment on the published and live story that is already circulating widely? That suggests that the Post's idea of fact checking is to publish first and then correct the story by rewriting it bit by bit in the hours following publication, rather than collecting all facts and developing a definitive hard story before ever allowing it to be published. While both models might be called "fact checking," the latter is what leads to false and misleading news circulating, especially as other news outlets picked up on the Post's story and ran it assuming that the Post had conducted all of the necessary fact checking.

Do read the whole thing. It's infuriating these #FakeNews peddlers continue lecturing about fake news.

And on that, remember it was the National Laughingstock that reported on a "study" conducted by anonymous people with no demonstrable expertise which purported to list websites which were state-sponsored Russian propaganda (or, as a walk-back would have it, sometimes published stories congruent with state-sponsored Russian propaganda). Glenn Greenwald -- yeah yeah, I know -- ripped National Laughingstock for that particularly filthy bit of #FakeNews.

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 cliches 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.

To see how frivolous and even childish this group of anonymous cowards is -- which the Post venerated into serious experts in order to peddle their story-- just sample a couple of the recent tweets from this group:

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

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

Glenn Greenwald has been widely cited by many top-tier magazines and his blog posts have been read on the Senate floor.

-- Rich Ellers (@glenngreenwald) November 22, 2016

Okay, I made that last one up. It's a classic for a reason, though.

But anyway:

As for their refusal to identify themselves even as they smear hundreds of American journalists as loyal to the Kremlin or "useful idiots" for it, this is their mature response:
We'll consider revealing our names when Russia reveals the names of those running its propaganda operations in the West ????

— PropOrNot ID Service (@propornot) November 25, 2016

The Washington Post should be very proud: It staked a major part of its news story on the unverified, untestable assertions of this laughable organization.

The National Laughingstock is just Slate with coverage of the local sports teams now.

I'm not even sure it rises to the level of Slate.

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posted by Ace at 06:46 PM

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