Merkel Declares War On "Fake News" As Europe Brands Russia's RT, Sputnik "Dangerous Propaganda"

Tyler Durden's picture

Picking up the torch on the most hotly debated topic by the humiliated US mainstream media, namely the spread of so-called "fake news" (not to be confused with Brian Williams lying for years on prime time TV, and which until recently was branded far simply as "conspiracy theory"), German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned on Wednesday against the power of fake news on social media to roil the establishment and to spur the rise of populists, after launching her campaign for a fourth term.

Speaking in parliament for the first time since her announcement Sunday that she would seek re-election next year, Merkel cautioned that public opinion was being "manipulated" on the internet.

"Something has changed -- as globalisation has marched on, (political) debate is taking place in a completely new media environment. Opinions aren't formed the way they were 25 years ago," she said.

Quoted by France 24, she said that "Today we have fake sites, bots, trolls -- things that regenerate themselves, reinforcing opinions with certain algorithms and we have to learn to deal with them." The chancellor said the challenge for democrats was to "reach and inspire people. However, should that fail, Merkel essentially suggested the time for censorship has come: "we must confront this phenomenon and if necessary, regulate it."

She said she supported initiatives by her right-left coalition government to crack down on "hate speech" on social media in the face of what she said were "concerns about the stability of our familiar order".

She warned that "Populism and political extremes are growing in Western democracies."

Merkel's warning comes a week after Google and Facebook (which overnight was revealed to have a "tool" ready to implement regional censorship) moved to cut off ad revenue to bogus news sites after a US election campaign in which the global misinformation industry may have influenced the outcome of the vote.

Perhaps a reason for Merkel's concern is that while her conservative Christian Democrats are largely favourites to win the German national election, expected in September or October 2017, she is facing a strong challenge from a resurgent rightwing populist party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), which has her liberal refugee and migration policy in its crosshairs.

* * *

Meanwhile, just as Merkel was launching Europe's war on "fake news", Europe's bureaucrats were one step ahead, and in a shocking move, on Wednesday the EU Parliament voted on a non-legislative resolution which calls for the EU to “respond to information warfare by Russia.” Russian news websites RT and Sputnik news agency were alleged to be among the most dangerous "tools of Russian propaganda."

A total of 691 lawmakers participated in the vote: 304 voted in favor of the resolution dubbed ‘EU strategic communication to counteract propaganda against it by third parties’, 179 voted against and 208 abstained from voting. Authors of the document equate counteracting Russia with the resistance to Daesh terrorist group and call on EU member states to boost financing counter-propaganda projects.

Written by a Polish member of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group, Anna Fotyga, the report alleged that Moscow aims to "incite fear and divide Europe," and called for the establishment of measures to tackle the perceived Russian propaganda threat. The report suggests that Moscow provides financial support to opposition parties and organizations in EU member states, causing disintegration within the bloc.

In other words: to counter alleged Russian propaganda, Europe is unleashing it own, very much formal counter-propaganda. 

As a result of the vote, Russia is now accused of "information warfare," with such entities as RT TV channel, Sputnik news agency, Rossotrudnichestvo federal agency and the Russkiy Mir (Russian World) fund alleged to be among its most threatening propaganda "tools."

The document also places Russian media organizations alongside terrorist groups such as Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

Sputnik has already appealed to the UN, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and a number of international journalists' organizations and NGOs, including Reporters Without Borders, to take measures to stop what it considers to be interference into freedom of speech in the EU. "The resolution hits straight at a number of respected media, including Sputnik agency, and has an aim to stop their activity in the EU. Moreover, the resolution bluntly contradicts the  EU's own human rights and freedom of press norms," reads the letter signed by Sputnik Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan.

* * *

Shortly after the vote Vladimir Putin slammed the EU parliament resolution against Russian media. He said that Europe is trying to "teach" Russia democracy. Putin added that the EU Parliament's resolution demonstrates "political degradation" in regard to the "idea of democracy" in the West. He also pointed out that while "everyone tries to lecture" Russia on democracy, European lawmakers themselves resort to a policy of restrictions, "which is not the best way" to deal with any issues.

"More recently — and these attempts are still ongoing — they [European officials] tried to 'teach us' democracy, and we have always heard from these 'teachers' that the most vicious way to do business with opponents is to ban something and that it is not consistent with the principles and norms of democracy. Open discussion is always the best way," Putin said.

Adding that he hopes the Western move to "counter Russian propaganda" won't lead to serious restrictions, the president congratulated RT and Sputnik journalists on their work.

He concluded that the EU parliament resolution is an "evident sign of degradation of the Western society's vision of democracy," Putin said. It is curious how many "western society" citizens agree with him.

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Rey dTutto's picture

Well, the good ol' standby "Conspiracy Theory" label is broken at the footing. 

Too many "Factual Conspiracies" have made the news lately. The Theories are being Substantiated and Exposed as Fact, not Wild World of Ignorance and Tinfoil Hat Land. 

Does anyone believe the Warren Commission?

bigdumbnugly's picture

Globalist Merkel decrying fake news now too?

It almost seems... seems... to be coordinated.

researchfix's picture

It´s the West´s isolation from the bigger world out there. And from reality.

Amun's picture

In what is largely a police country that sends to jail 80+ years old ladies for voicing non-compliant opinion on WW2

 they will surely succeed and will silence easily alt-media 


Perhaps Merkel & Co should re-read Emperor's New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen...or some American classics:

"You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."



Caledonian's picture

She's got the sex appeal of a cardboard box.

War Machine's picture

Mmmm... Orwellian.

say, the US never promotes 'propaganda' - right?

it's so simple - just accuse Russia of doing what the US, Saudis and Israelis do in fact.

Ghordius's picture

War Machine... I seriously like what I am reading from you. not that I agree with you on many points, but you are definitely a new great contributor

hope we get to fight about something, eventually. +1  (akak, I miss you, you know that, don't you?)

wildbad's picture

same tactics Killary and the DNC uses..blame the other side for your own crimes and then watch the reactions and watered down counterclaims from your still scruple burdened enemy.

no quarter to authoritarians.

the need to be taught empathy through example

More Ammo's picture

Example: Head is disconnected from body by any of several means and held up high on a pike for the rest to see.



PS, This is what "they" are really afraid of...

luckylongshot's picture

Having suppressed the German media to not report the daily rapes of German women by Moslem refugees, to then try to claim some sort of moral high ground implying she stands for a free press and Russia does not, Merkel has exposed herself as a finalist for the jackass award for the stupidist act of hypocrisy of the year.

TheVillageIdiot's picture

That actually, according to a connection inside the EU, is the principal reason for this sudden "change" in tactics...

JohnGaltUk's picture

"we must confront this phenomenon and if necessary, regulate it."




Dear Heir Merkel,

Can I listen to Jews this time round? It's just last time our German Leader told us that we could not listen to foreign radio either, like the BBC; will this also apply this time Heir Merkal.

Also can you clarify for me Heir Merkal will I have to refer to the motherland as the Fifth Reich.

Thank you, I look fowards to perhaps meeting you at the Nuremburg Rally next Sunday.

John Galt

silvermail's picture

Excuse me, but how you think this speech of Ms Merkel is not a repetition and a full replica of the most prominent methods of fascism?!

Tell me please anyone EU country, where the standard of living of the population which has become higher, after the entry into the EU?
I do not mean the standard of living of European officials. I mean, the standard of living of ordinary people.

Why do ordinary people called the EU as a "EU - prison of nations"?!

Things that go bump's picture

Dangerous propaganda as opposed to the good state propaganda? How is she ever going to get the Germans to think properly with all these dangerous other viewpoints floating around?

ZH Snob's picture

RT is the best news on cable.  surprisingly too, they do not take an obvious pro-russian stance in their reporting.

THE SOLUTION IS DEBT FREE MONEY CREATION (not verified) 1980XLS Nov 23, 2016 3:40 PM


sun tzu's picture

The presstitute whore western media is government approved.

EuroPox's picture

All the news in Germany is already fake - that's why the Germans call it the 'Liar Press'.

Ghordius's picture

that's some Germans. and yes, that's because RT and Sputnik told them

and yes, they are propaganda tools. but "dangerous"? oh, my, I don't even know where to start

btw, I can only recommend to read Sputnik (RT, less so). and Al-Jazeera, and let's say Singapore's "The Strait Times", and so on

there is only one antidote against propaganda: diversity of imput, i.e. read from all of them, note the discrepancy in the narrative and, most importantly...

... make up your own mind, while keeping a Socratic attitude about it

Bay of Pigs's picture

The Podesta emails clearly proved much of the American MSM was in bed with the Clinton campaign. It was not only collusion but creating false narratives and lying to the public. You cant get any worse than that as far as propaganda efforts go.

And I didnt see RT and Sputnik in any of them.

HowdyDoody's picture

German News is the best news CIA bribes can buy.

francis scott falseflag's picture

And most EU PMs, lead the best governments, the CIA can blackmail.

Merkel, with her NSA tapped cell phone, for sure.

wildbad's picture

yes, true there are some German based news sources which are not forwarding the standard state propaganda, but they are few.

all of the state senders (channels) are thoroughly propagandised.

you are 100% right about diversity being the golden pill for this problem..

fake or not

Ghordius's picture

well, of course state media is done by people that have to be careful of not getting on the government's nerves. it's their shareholder and employer, after all

but ARD and ZDF, for example, are a good example of how this can be done. one of them beholds the federal gov, while the other the "Länder" govs

RT and Sputnik are state media, too. I find that media landscapes that have both gov and private media tend to show up with less whoppers

in fact, sometimes I think that the US could be better off with some state media. at least you can better gauge what the gov really wants to say, in their own words, and you can profile the private media better against that backdrop

researchfix's picture

A newspaper with interesting and controversial news would even sell. When Merkel wins, the newspapers will get entrance to the GEZ. You must know (not you, wildbad) that every German household pays 17 Euros per month to get fake news and gay entertainment.

malek's picture

"they [RT and Sputnik] are propaganda too"

Well Ghordius then show us where they were/are lying.

Or are you in truly Orwellian fashion now declaring it can be "propaganda" even if it's all true?

bh2's picture
Fair warning to Europeans: "The most puzzling development in politics during the last decade is the apparent determination of Western European leaders to re-create the Soviet Union in Western Europe." -- Mikhail Gorbachev
ex nihilo's picture

I can't speak to the accuracy or proper attribution to this "quote," but, I sense that the sentiment is accurate. Compliant "Technocracies" are required by an ever-degenerating sovereign debt-money system. It's not a stretch to sprinkle this with a bit of chi-com impunity, either...

HopefulCynical's picture

He's either unobservant or attempting misdirection. There's nothing puzzling about it. The, uh, ideology which was weeded out of Russia fled to Europe.

Ghordius's picture

"The report suggests that Moscow provides financial support to opposition parties and organizations in EU member states..."

now, that's not just a suggestion, but very much factual. a few years ago Marine Le Pen's FN had to disclose that they got a "loan" from a Russian bank, for example

as an old western continental european: meh, nothing new at all. The Old Kremlin of Communist persuation funded all kinds of political activities on the Left and Far Left, and now the New Kremlin of Russian Nationalist/Conservative persuation funds all kinds of political activities on the Far Right and Extreme Right

and no, the EU Parliament passing a non-legislative blabla is just a matter of rumbling a bit about it

for me, Russian media is welcome to compete in the narrative... as before when it was in a completely different ideological direction.

where I seriously see a problem is in the British Right-wing press, but that's a whole different story... by Jingo, of course

samjam7's picture

Ghordius, so far the only case any European party was actually involved in Russian funding. Other than the FN in France there hasn't been one since. But that alone is enough to say that Russia was providing "Financial support to opposition partieS..."

Really it is just sad what your Chancellor is blaring about about 'false media' if anyone should allow its citizen the free choice of press than her, having lived through the media controlled East German times. But well, back then she was on the receiving end and not threatened by the news.

Ghordius's picture

I beg to differ on too many points for a comment

look, media ought to have some responsibility. in the UK, for example, Jo Cox was murdered on the street by someone deranged enough to think that some of the claims done by some of the tabloid press were real, truthful and factual

not that I have a solution for that, but I would tend to factual checking and similar methods

samjam7's picture

Well, would you then agree with me that the diversity of media is enabling better fact checking than controlled media?

People tend to believe the news that suits their world view. Whether left or right leaning. But having politicians decide what media is 'the truth' and what is 'bad' reduced the choice and free decision making for every citizen. That never worked out well.

ManTheMan's picture




rmopf2010's picture

Comunists Eurocrats.

Russia is now the most free country! and EU is now much worse than USSR was before 1989, because at that time there was no technology as of today.

Ghordius's picture

"Russia is now the most free country!"

I beg to differ. and it would be communist eurocrats, and I though lately they were neo-liberals, and then later protectionists? and below there is a comment saying it is becoming fascist?

make up your mind, please

HowdyDoody's picture

You are being unfair. Boogieman words are supposed to be scary on their own, and their actual meaning is irrelvant. /sarc?

Ghordius's picture

guilty as charged. but hey, I seriously like his "EU is now much worse than USSR was before 1989"

having travelled in the USSR, I find it kind of funny. and sad, too. very sad. my goodness, youngsters nowadays can't even imagine how it was, not even Russian youngsters

Pliskin's picture

That's hilarious Ghordius, you pulling someone on their incorrect spelling 'communists' then you yourself spell 'thought' wrong...there's a 't' on the end!

Epic Fail.

Don't try to be the spelling/grammar police, Ghordius, stick to what you're good at...bigging up your steadily failing EU project.


Ghordius's picture

true. take it as a mind fart in the direction of "please learn something about ideologies before writing about them"

the failing EU Project? well, I suggest you don't miss this ZH Article:

however you want to put it, some EU Project is there to stay. because... you know... the rest of the world?

some narrative in the US and in the UK is all about "fuck the rest of the world". we think it's unwise, but that's us, of course

rmopf2010's picture

Hey Guys from ZH i found Ghordius is the alias for Jean Claud Juncker

When all that magic tricks NIRP and QE fall with gravity, your Big government/welfare benefits will come to an end.




ex nihilo's picture

"She said she supported initiatives by her right-left coalition government..." 5th paragraph of this article should clear-up any questions. Tyler(s) nailed it there. However, Merkel's "Right-Left" should be pointed-out as existing LEFT OF CENTER on a simple line graph of totalitarian (far left) to total-liberty (far right); CENTER being the IDEA of a perfect balance between gov and peeps.

No Vote, Ghordius. Quit tying the "knot" that should be cut or, at least, un-raveled...


J Jason Djfmam's picture

So the Left-Right is telling Truth-Lies. Right?

ex nihilo's picture

Status Quo needs a lot of new words, hyphens and acronymns to nudge and sustain the narrative... (not to mention all of the "isms"). I'm just simplifying for clarity... for example, your "Left-Right" would fall Left of Center of the Left side of the overall Left-Right spectrum. ZH says she is Right-Left and would, therefor, fall on the Right of Center of the Left side of the overall spectrum of Total Gov or Total Liberty. So, Truth-Lies or Lies-Truth aren't germain to my comment... those mean the same thing with Pre-school simplicity. What I have shared is proper perspective to understand the issue... just hope it computes for you this time...

rmopf2010's picture

You dummscam comunist:


Russia flat independent from income 13%

France Max 75%

"The tax introduced by Francois Hollande as the 75% tax is in fact an additional employer contribution of 50% which when existing social security charges are added reaches 75%"


When the state collects almost everything your earn I Think that is called Comunism



steaua's picture

Not sure about urss before 1989 but let me depict you Romania before 1989. maybe just maybe you will see why older people in europe do not think eu is the pure evil.

So basic necesities

1. shelter: not uncommon to have 10 degrees celsius inside during harsh winter months because of gas shorteges, electricity cut at 7 pm so candles still needed, warm water 1-2 times / week

2. food: rationalized, family of 4 had 1kg of meat , 30 eggs and 2 packets of butter per month. farmers almost in the same situation as crops where handed over to the government. empty shops and limited black market. queues of hours when there was something.

3. security: say anything bad about dear leader and go to jail. everybody thought they are spied on.

About propaganda: history books changed, all newspapers about dear leader, songs and marches to praise him.

Mobility: to change job or city you needed approval from the party.


Now boy how does that sound? you still joke about it?

Bring it on and so on?

Tachyon5321's picture

Merkel has banned the German press from telling the truth. You have to read other sources to see her lies.