What drives the creator of fake news to continue?

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In summary: Russian propaganda arms, and should be treated as such.In summary, the Washington Post published an article promoting a shadowy website that accuses 200 publications of Russian propaganda. The website, PropOrNot, is "shaky" as a reliable source, and suggests that Russia operates troll armies to influence the US election.
  • #1
nsaspook
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https://ww2.kqed.org/news/2016/11/2...eator-in-the-suburbs-heres-what-they-learned/
And as the stories spread, Coler makes money from the ads on his websites. He wouldn’t give exact figures, but he says stories about other fake news proprietors making between $10,000 and $30,000 a month apply to him. Coler fits into a pattern of other faux news sites that make good money, especially by targeting Trump supporters.

However, Coler insists this is not about money. It’s about showing how easily fake news spreads. And fake news spread wide and far before the election. When I pointed out to Coler that the money gave him a lot of incentive to keep doing it regardless of the impact, he admitted that was “correct.”

I'm thinking the financial part is about 99.99% of it.
 
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  • #3
What a despicable act. It's a shame the profanity filter on PF won't let me properly express my true feelings.
 
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  • #4
All I can say is caveat emptor. Make sure yo get your news from a reputable source. As a wise woman (my mother) once told me, "Believe none of what you hear, and half of what you see."
 
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  • #5
What are the chances that this sort of Tom Foolery will inspire the government to introduce regulations or somehow intervene in the infrastructure of the INTERNET?
 
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  • #6
This is not a new problem, and it is not just a problem with fly-by-night sources. A year and a half ago, I complained on this very forum that Mother Jones took an infographic from the Washington Post and changed the title and caption to make it support the story they wanted to tell. And sell. Mother Jones is left-wing, but they are certainly mainstream - they have a print version with a circulation of 200,000.

We have the Rolling Stone University of Virginia story - too good to check. In fact, one can Google "too good to check" and find lots of examples.
 
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  • #9
gleem said:
What are the chances that this sort of Tom Foolery will inspire the government to introduce regulations or somehow intervene in the infrastructure of the INTERNET?
Possible... ?
Merkel called fraudulent news a growing phenomenon that might need to be regulated in the future.
Main article is... here .

I don't know how long it will stay, but a list is... here .
 
  • #10
gleem said:
What are the chances that this sort of Tom Foolery will inspire the government to introduce regulations or somehow intervene in the infrastructure of the INTERNET?
Vanadium 50 said:
This is not a new problem, and it is not just a problem with fly-by-night sources.
It is difficult in a free society to regulate the news. The most we can hope for is taking the gloves off a bit when such fake news causes damage. I'm not generally in favor of increasing our society's already too litigiousness, but this is one case where I would be in favor of it.
 
  • #11
Astronuc said:
Another side of fake news - government-sponsored.

Experts Say Russian Propaganda Helped Spread Fake News During Election
http://www.npr.org/2016/11/25/50336...ganda-helped-spread-fake-news-during-election

I think the Russian's are rank amateurs in this game when compared to the hundreds of sites created just from the people we know from reports are doing it just for the money. Who are these independent researchers and experts describing a dark web of Russian-controlled fake news agents? Seems more a conspiracy theory than a scientific analysis of the problem.
 
  • #12
nsaspook said:
I think the Russian's are rank amateurs in this game when compared to the hundreds of sites created just from the people we know from reports are doing it just for the money. Who are these independent researchers and experts describing a dark web of Russian-controlled fake news agents? Seems more a conspiracy theory than a scientific analysis of the problem.
This article names some specific researchers:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/busi...3903b6-8a40-4ca9-b712-716af66098fe_story.html
 
  • #13
nsaspook said:
Seems more a conspiracy theory than a scientific analysis of the problem.
Caveat emptor. Darwin in action.
 
  • #15
nsaspook said:
PropOrNot in the WPOST article? http://www.propornot.com/2016/10/introducing-propornot-be-aware-of-and.html
Maybe it's just me but they seem pretty shaky as a reliable source.

http://www.alternet.org/media/washington-post-promotes-shadowy-website-accuses-200-publications-russian-propaganda-plants
Apparently Russia does create troll armies:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trolls_from_Olgino

which lends credence to claims of US election trolling by Russians. (See the related link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_brigades)

Also note that the PropOrNot claim is to have found sites that "echo" Russian propaganda, knowingly or not:

It is not up to us to determine whether the sites we’ve identified are being knowingly directed and paid by Russian intelligence officers (although some of them almost certainly are), or whether the individuals involved even knew they were echoing Russian propaganda at any particular point: If the outlets meet criteria like the ones above, then they are echoing Russian propaganda, have effectively become tools of the Russian intelligence services, and are worthy of further investigation.

And since the hack of the Democrats was laid at their doorstep, I don't feel like it's incautious to lean toward believing they put a lot of fake news into the mix.
 
  • #16
I don't think there's any doubt that Russia is in the mix as all sides have been at this game for decades. I just question them being assigned as the driving force in the current Fake News flood we are seeing and I see little that makes PropOrNot a credible source for anything.
Russian Propaganda Targets All Americans

While Russian influence operations resemble a marketing effort in some ways, only a few dozen individual outlets ("sources") actually produce large amounts of original propaganda content. That content is then echoed, extended, and amplified through an immense number of secondary sites ("repeaters"). Both source and repeater outlets target a wide range of audiences: US military veterans, Wall St. insiders and finance specialists, natural-food and health enthusiasts, goldbugs, African-Americans, white Americans, peace activists, religious people, 9/11-"truthers", and politically-active Americans across and outside the political spectrum. For example:

Some of their selection criteria for a propaganda site is laughable IMO.
  1. Include specialized sites targeted at a wide range of audiences, including US military veterans, Wall St. finance types, environmentalists, peace activists, racists, conspiracy theorists, political junkies, etc.;
  2. Appear to be effectively influencing public opinion in significant and very problematic ways, by promoting:
    • Conspiracy theories about and protests against US military exercises,
    • Isolationism/anti-interventionism generally,
    • Support for policies like Brexit, and the breakup of the EU and Eurozone,
    • Opposition to Ukrainian resistance to Russia and Syrian resistance to Assad,
    • Support for the anti-vax, anti-Zika spraying, anti-GMO, 9/11-”truther”, gold-standard, and other related movements;
  3. Have extremely large audiences in the US, such that tens of millions of people appear to use them as primary “news” sources, supplanting actual journalism;

Their propaganda list includes sites that range from the total nutball to news link sites like drudge.
 
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  • #17
nsaspook said:
...
Their propaganda list includes sites that range from the total nutball to news link sites like drudge.

Do you mean the "Drudge Report". I don't know that I've ever looked at it, so I googled around and found the following opinion by a judge, from a law suit filed against them; "Drudge is not a reporter, a journalist or a newsgatherer. He is, as he himself admits, simply a purveyor of gossip. " [ref: techlawjournal.com, which may or may not be another gossip website]
 
  • #18
nsaspook said:
I don't think there's any doubt that Russia is in the mix as all sides have been at this game for decades. I just question them being assigned as the driving force in the current Fake News flood we are seeing...
The claim in Astro's link was merely:

...have found that some of those stories had support from a Russian propaganda campaign.

nsaspook said:
and I see little that makes PropOrNot a credible source for anything.
They may or may not be operating exclusively on confirmation bias. But then there's the Foreign Policy Research Institute to address:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Policy_Research_Institute
 
  • #19
OmCheeto said:
Do you mean the "Drudge Report". I don't know that I've ever looked at it, so I googled around and found the following opinion by a judge, from a law suit filed against them; "Drudge is not a reporter, a journalist or a newsgatherer. He is, as he himself admits, simply a purveyor of gossip. " [ref: techlawjournal.com, which may or may not be another gossip website]

I go to the Drudge site fairly often. All the news stories I've read were from legitimate sources. They are definitely right wing viewpoints though.
 
  • #20
zoobyshoe said:

That's an impressive think-tank of former cold warriors
http://warontherocks.com/2016/11/trolling-for-trump-how-russia-is-trying-to-destroy-our-democracy/
But most observers are missing the point. Russia is helping Trump’s campaign, yes, but it is not doing so solely or even necessarily with the goal of placing him in the Oval Office. Rather, these efforts seek to produce a divided electorate and a president with no clear mandate to govern. The ultimate objective is to diminish and tarnish American democracy. Unfortunately, that effort is going very well indeed.

Russia’s desire to sow distrust in the American system of government is not new. It’s a goal Moscow has pursued since the beginning of the Cold War. Its strategy is not new, either. Soviet-era “active measures” called for using the“force of politics” rather than the “politics of force” to erode American democracy from within. What is new is the methods Russia uses to achieve these objectives.

http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/11/fake-news-russia-donald-trump
These messages would have presumably turned unwitting and undecided voters towards http://www.vanityfair.com/people/donald-trump#intcid=dt-hot-link, who painted himself as a financially independent outsider who openly wanted to reset relations with http://www.vanityfair.com/people/vladimir-putin#intcid=dt-hot-link, a controversial and bellicose international figure whom Trump has nevertheless praised as a “great man”. While it is unclear whether Putin specifically hoped to facilitate Trump's election, Clint Watts, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, said that the campaign served a broader, long-term purpose. “They want to essentially erode faith in the U.S. government or U.S. government interests,” he told the Post. “This was their standard mode during the Cold War. The problem is that this was hard to do before social media.”

and we can see how parts of the original WPORT story are being sourced with FPRI and PropOrNot in popular media already.
The Foreign Policy Research Institute and PropOrNot, a nonpartisan group of researchers, independently provided reports to The Washington Post that detailed a sophisticated, multi-pronged disinformation campaign designed to propagate two specific messages: first, that http://www.vanityfair.com/people/hillary-clinton#intcid=dt-hot-link was deathly ill and was secretly plotting to turn America into a plutocracy run by “shadowy financiers”; and second, that the world was on the brink of a war with Russia. The groups traced 200 of the biggest fake news websites to the Russian government, as well as a group of botnets and human “trolls”, which planted stories and reached at least 15 million Americans.

and morphed into:
“Report: Research Confirms That Russia Played a Major Role in Spreading Fake News.”
http://gizmodo.com/research-confirms-that-russia-played-a-major-role-in-sp-1789363613
Speculation about Russia’s interference in the U.S. Presidential election has run rampant throughout the campaign. Now, researchers from two independent groups have confirmed that Putin’s minions wielded a complex misinformation apparatus to unleash a “firehose of falsehood” on the American public.

and then it's spun back up by a real Russian disinformation agent (RT).
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...ration-boosted-fake-news-phenomenon/94424206/
RT responded Friday with an article that said the Post was "blasted online" for what it called "its latest hit-piece." It also said the FPRI, where one of the analysts, Watts, is a fellow, was founded in 1955 to mobilize opposition to the Soviet Union during the Cold War and was criticized by Sen. William Fulbright, who was "a vocal opponent of McCarthyism."

and it's now being used as a reason to join the recount effort.
https://medium.com/@marceelias/list...-an-audit-and-recount-2a904717ea39#.njistxd7h
Moreover, this election cycle was unique in the degree of foreign interference witnessed throughout the campaign: the U.S. government concluded that Russian state actors were behind the hacks of the Democratic National Committee and the personal email accounts of Hillary for America campaign officials, and just yesterday, the Washington Post reported that the Russian government was behind much of the “fake news” propaganda that circulated online in the closing weeks of the election.[
...
Because we had not uncovered any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology, we had not planned to exercise this option ourselves, but now that a recount has been initiated in Wisconsin, we intend to participate in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides.
 
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  • #21
nsaspook said:
I think the Russian's are rank amateurs in this game when compared to the hundreds of sites created just from the people we know from reports are doing it just for the money. Who are these independent researchers and experts describing a dark web of Russian-controlled fake news agents? Seems more a conspiracy theory than a scientific analysis of the problem.

So, the issues in your post #11 have been addressed. The Russians are not amateurs at this, you know that the "independent researchers" include an organization you respect, and it's not a conspiracy theory (though it's been garbled in repetition to make it more sensational.)
 
  • #22
zoobyshoe said:
So, the issues in your post #11 have been addressed. The Russians are not amateurs at this, you know that the "independent researchers" include an organization you respect, and it's not a conspiracy theory (though it's been garbled in repetition to make it more sensational.)

I respect that group (their continuation of cold-war rhetoric is overblown) but not all the the researchers and I'm not alone in this. You're right, it's not a conspiracy theory, it's just poor reporting (a mishmash of good and poor sources) from the Washington Post about the nature of fake news and its effects. That made it easy to sensationalize into a Russian fake news affected the election outcome story.

https://theintercept.com/2016/11/26...klist-from-a-new-hidden-and-very-shady-group/
In his article, the Post’s Timberg did not include a link to PropOrNot’swebsite. 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.

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:
...
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.
...
Indeed, what happened here is the essence of fake news. The Post story served the agendas of many factions: those who want to believe Putin stole the election from Hillary Clinton; those who want to believe that the internet and social media are a grave menace that needs to be controlled, in contrast to the objective truth which reliable old media outlets once issued; those who want a resurrection of the Cold War.
 
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  • #23
nsaspook said:
I respect that group (their continuation of cold-war rhetoric is overblown) but not all the the researchers and I'm not alone in this. You're right, it's not a conspiracy theory, it's just poor reporting (a mix-mash of good and poor sources) from the Washington Post about the nature of fake news and its effects. That made it easy to sensationalize into a Russian fake news affected the election outcome story.
Yeah, that sounds about right.
 
  • #24
zoobyshoe said:
Yeah, that sounds about right.

I still say the Russians are amateurs at this, we are much more effective at harming our own country for money than any plan devised and implemented by them since the creation of the USSR. :frown:

https://theintercept.com/2016/11/26/laura-ingraham-lifezette/
By that reckoning, entrepreneurial Macedonian teenagers, opportunists in Tbilisi and California millennials have exploited social media algorithms in order to make money — only incidentally leading to the viral proliferation of mostly anti-Clinton and anti-Obama hoaxes and conspiracy theories that thrilled many Trump supporters. The Washington Post published a shoddy report on Thursday alleging that Russian state-sponsored propagandists were seeking to promote Trump through fabricated stories for their own reasons, independent of the candidate himself.

But a closer look reveals that some of the biggest fake news providers were run by experienced political operators well within the orbit of Donald Trump’s political advisers and consultants.
 
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  • #25
http://www.usnews.com/news/articles...distributors-consider-suing-anonymous-experts
Several American news outlets are considering legal action against the anonymous person or group that last week published a widely distributed list of alleged Russian propaganda outlets and “bona-fide ‘useful idiots’” of the Kremlin.
...
The Washington Post leaned heavily on the anonymous group’s claims last week in an article reporting that “two teams of independent researchers” – including the Foreign Policy Research Institute and PropOrNot – had found a “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’” ahead of the recent presidential election.
...
Two editors at the progressive news site CounterPunch also say they are keeping their options open as they work to determine who tarred them as Russian propagandists.

“It's totally ridiculous – apparently they've never even read what I've written on Russia in Syria!” editor Joshua Frank says in an email. In June, he condemned Russia’s “murderous air bombardments” producing “piles of dead kids” in Syria and predicted the ultimate demise of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a Russian ally.
...
Yves Smith, editor of the economics and news siteNaked Capitalism, proposed a collective legal “counter-attack” Tuesday night, expressing concernthat if unchallenged the characterization might be used to justify censorship on platforms such as Facebook. Smith wrote that a “seasoned First Amendment litigator” had volunteered their services, but asked readers to chip in for additional legal expenses.
 
  • #26
I wonder if they can be prosecuted when the target of their disinformation goes on a shooting spree?
Comet pizza owner rips fake news after gunman tells police he was there to ‘self-investigate’ election conspiracy
The 28-year-old gunman, Edgar Maddison Welch, told police he traveled to Washington from Salisbury, N.C., to “self-investigate” the conspiracy theory, which alleged that the pizzeria was the center of a sex ring involving Clinton and her campaign chief.
EDIT: This story sounded so crazy that I double-checked it on Washington Post's web site.
N.C. man told police he went to D.C. pizzeria with gun to investigate conspiracy theory.
I didn't watch the local news last night. I'll have to see if it's on tonight.
 
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  • #28
I saw that after I posted the link. Pretty ridiculous.
 
  • #29
Everyone knows the 'Pizzagate' sex thing is fake news, the real scandal are the Corbomite cannibalistic cannibals in DC.
 
  • #30
nsaspook said:
Everyone knows the 'Pizzagate' sex thing is fake news...
Or, if they don't, it's obvious the best way to fact check it is to go in with a gun and start shooting the place up. Everyone whose really in-the-know does their fact checking that way.
 
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  • #31
More from Mr. Pizzagate - I just wanted to do some good.
“The intel on this wasn’t 100 percent,” he admitted, saying he recently had Internet service installed and his online research left him with the “impression something nefarious was happening.”

He also said he listens to talk radio host Alex Jones, a prominent conspiracy theorist who has even questioned the December 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman shot and killed 20 children and six adults.
I wonder why the music from Deliverance going through my head right now? :doh:
 
  • #32
Borg said:
More from Mr. Pizzagate - I just wanted to do some good.
I wonder why the music from Deliverance going through my head right now? :doh:

You can't fix stupid.

 
  • #33
https://www.washingtonian.com/2016/...ppends-editors-note-russian-propaganda-story/
Editor’s Note: The Washington Post on Nov. 24 published a story on the work of four sets of researchers who have examined what they say are Russian propaganda efforts to undermine American democracy and interests. One of them was PropOrNot, a group that insists on public anonymity, which issued a report identifying more than 200 websites that, in its view, wittingly or unwittingly published or echoed Russian propaganda. A number of those sites have objected to being included on PropOrNot’s list, and some of the sites, as well as others not on the list, have publicly challenged the group’s methodology and conclusions. The Post, which did not name any of the sites, 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 sites from its list.


It seems the WaPo editors have acknowledged that at least one major source in the Russian propaganda story didn't look very good on close inspection.

http://fair.org/home/why-are-media-outlets-still-citing-discredited-fake-news-blacklist/
Almost everyone outside of the Washington Post who critically examined the list concluded it was at best shoddy and ill-considered, and at worst a deliberate attempt to encourage a chilling effect on Russia-related reporting. That a group of Cold Warrior hacks would publish such a blacklist is not a surprise; that one of the most established names in American news would uncritically parrot it was. Its reporting, writing-up and referencing is a prime example of how fake real news on real fake news spreads without question.

USA Today (11/25/16), Gizmodo (11/25/16), PBS (11/25/16), The Daily Beast (11/25/16), Slate (11/25/16), AP (11/25/16) The Verge (11/25/16) andNPR (11/25/16) all uncritically wrote up the Post’s most incendiary claims with little or minimal pushback. Gizmodo was so giddy its original headline had to be changed from “Research Confirms That Russia Played a Major Role in Spreading Fake News” to “Research Suggests That Russia Played a Major Role in Spreading Fake News,” presumably after some polite commenters pointed out that the research “confirmed” nothing of the sort.
 
  • #34
It's difficult anymore to believe much of anything that has political ramifications.

Just stay aware of what's plausible and see which ones pan out .
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...termediary-disgusted-Democratic-insiders.html

Ex-British ambassador who is now a WikiLeaks operative claims Russia did NOT provide Clinton emails - they were handed over to him at a D.C. park by an intermediary for 'disgusted' Democratic whistleblowers
  • Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and associate of Julian Assange, told the Dailymail.com he flew to Washington, D.C. for emails
  • He claims he had a clandestine hand-off in a wooded area near American University with one of the email sources

That one's at least as plausible as this:

BorisNatasha.jpg
 
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  • #35
Pakistan Threatens Nuclear Attack Retaliation On Israel over fake news report.
https://www.yahoo.com/news/pakistan-threatens-nuclear-attack-israel-194124079.html
a typo-riddled http://hsrd.yahoo.com/RV=1/RE=1483926183/RH=aHNyZC55YWhvby5jb20-/RB=/RU=aHR0cDovL2F3ZG5ld3MuY29tL3BvbGl0aWNhbC9pc3JhZWxpLWRlZmVuc2UtbWluaXN0ZXItaWYtcGFraXN0YW4tc2VuZC1ncm91bmQtdHJvb3BzLWludG8tc3lyaWEtb24tYW55LXByZXRleHQsLXdlLXdpbGwtZGVzdHJveS10aGVtLXdpdGgtYS1udWNsZWFyLWF0dGFjawA-/RS=%5EADApRrIrVXoA.0Xufvf2WIWbS3nKj8- on AWD News was posted last Tuesday quoting former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon (Israel’s current defense minister is Avigdor Lieberman) as saying he would “destroy” Pakistan prompted a response Saturday from Pakistan's Defense Minister Khawaja Asif, threatening nuclear retaliation.
I have to wonder about the veracity of news reports these days. Certainly, fake news or false information could have dire consequences in some domains, especially if it provides retaliation by one state or group to another.
 
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