Washington Post Appends "Russian Propaganda Fake News" Story, Admits It May Be Fake

Tyler Durden's picture

In the latest example why the "mainstream media" is facing a historic crisis of confidence among its readership, facing unprecedented blowback following Craig Timberg November 24 Washington Post story "Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say", on Wednesday a lengthy editor's note appeared on top of the original article in which the editor not only distances the WaPo from the "experts" quoted in the original article whose "work" served as the basis for the entire article (and which became the most read WaPo story the day it was published) but also admits the Post could not "vouch for the validity of PropOrNot's finding regarding any individual media outlet", in effect admitting the entire story may have been, drumroll "fake news" and conceding the Bezos-owned publication may have engaged in defamation by smearing numerous websites - Zero Hedge included - with patently false and unsubstantiated allegations.

It was the closest the Washington Post would come to formally retracting the story, which has now been thoroughly discredited not only by outside commentators, but by its own editor.

The apended note in question:

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.

As The Washingtonian notes, the implicit concession follows intense and rising criticism of the article over the past two weeks. It was “rife with obviously reckless and unproven allegations,” Intercept reporters Glenn Greenwald and Ben Norton wrote, noting that PropOrNot, one of the groups whose research was cited in Timberg’s piece, “anonymous cowards.” One of the sites PropOrNot cited as Russian-influenced was the Drudge Report.

The piece’s description of some sharers of bogus news as “useful idiots” could “theoretically include anyone on any social-media platform who shares news based on a click-bait headline,” Mathew Ingram wrote for Fortune.

But the biggest issue was PropOrNot itself. As Adrian Chen wrote for the New Yorker, its methods were themselves suspect, hinting at counter-Russian propaganda - ostensibly with Ukrainian origins - and verification of its work was nearly impossible. Chen wrote “the prospect of legitimate dissenting voices being labelled fake news or Russian propaganda by mysterious groups of ex-government employees, with the help of a national newspaper, is even scarier.”

Criticism culminated this week when the "Naked capitalism" blog threatened to sue the Washington Post, demanding a retraction. 

Now, at least, the "national newspaper" has taken some responsibility, however the key question remains: by admitting it never vetted its primary source, whose biased and conflicted "work" smeared hundreds of websites, this one included, just how is the Washington Post any different from the "fake news" it has been deriding on a daily basis ever since its endorsed presidential candidate lost the elections?

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Normalcy Bias's picture

Who is Fake News, again?!

Looney's picture


Meanwhile, Reggie Love is planning to write a memoir “Behind the Candelabra-in-Chief”.   ;-)


Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) Looney Dec 7, 2016 8:26 PM

I told you guys Neptune home in Pisces is unmasking and revealing the truth, so is Pluto in Capricorn.

You have never seen anything like this before in history. With Uranus the warrior in Aries it involves new technology, the internet.

Amazing to see it all play out

FatTony7915726's picture

Can you say the Washington Post is the whore of Babylon in fake news?  Sure you can!

robertsgt40's picture

I gotta great idea Bezos, have your editor call the FBI.  It's right up their alley . 

SafelyGraze's picture

even if wapo retracts the story, it still led to the house passing the bill that had been waiting in the wings.

so .. mission accomplished.

you forgot to say "bitchez"!  --tylers

JamesBond's picture

Can we now please pull the plug on the liberal professor's 5 minutes of fame?





El Vaquero's picture

Hey Tylers, here is what propornot.com is using as an example of "Absurd Russian Propaganda" for ZH:




Not only was it an article by Simon Black, but here is how Russia was mentioned:

But here in Russia is perhaps the most famous example in our modern times.

Marxists came to power in a bloody 1917 revolution with the goal of eradicating poverty and redistributing wealth.

Yet like Venezuela, the only equality the Soviet Union managed to achieve was making everyone equally poor to the point that this vast wasteland of destitution finally collapsed in the late 1980s.


On the way over to Russia I was reading an article in Newsweek about Uber, the ride-sharing pioneer that is currently worth around $70 billion.

The author was upset because the company’s stock isn’t publicly traded like Apple or Facebook, meaning he’s not able to own any Uber shares for himself.



All you can do is laugh, because the regressive left accuses everybody else of what they themselves are, in one way or another, guilty of themselves.  If they call you a racist, expect that they themselves are racist.  If they accuse you of propaganda, their claims are probably propaganda. 

Troll Magnet's picture

Dear Tylers,
please please PLEASE sue WaPo.


Byte Me's picture

Probably a better solution would be for TD to contact some / most of the other aggrieved parties and bring a collective (sic) CLASS ACTION against the WaPo.

After all - strength in numbers.

Stainless Steel Rat's picture
Stainless Steel Rat (not verified) Byte Me Dec 8, 2016 12:51 AM

Whoa! Can't we wait until the army is at the gates?

WordSmith2013's picture

The MSM is going down ... as in a free-fall collapse!




MAINSTREAM MEDIA: The True Enemy Of The People


SixIsNinE's picture

agree - look at the BlackPoison of censorship moving this way from Europe.  Already Europe has draconian laws which protect tribe members against words...

now England has sentenced a "blogger" who used such words as "rodent" and other "Horrifying Hate Crime" words... against a Berger MP. 


7 years in Prison - yes, how dare the Hater write those horrific words !  

It's coming here folks if we don't stop it.

quite a few ziobots commenting on the article suggest it is a very just sentence. 

I'm sure he'll get rehabilitated in the joint and will see the error of his ways.


piliage's picture

To quote Frank Zappa, "May your shit come to life, and kiss you".



Bendromeda Strain's picture

Considering that he died from prostate cancer, isn't that a little bit like John Lennon singing "Instant Karma, gonna knock you off your feet"?

Bastiat's picture

Bozos:  If you find the story unsatisfactory, you can return it within 30 days for a full refund. What's the problem?

Antifaschistische's picture

This isn't about "fake news" at all.

It's about competition.  

TPTB were more successful squelching radio because the FCC already had a rope around the neck of the radio stations.  The internet is a new dimension for them...So, it's like "it doesn't matter who votes, it only matters who counts the votes" thing.   It doesn't matter creating the "ministry of truth" as long as you're able to define at will what "truth" is.

Rubicon727's picture

Oh, sure thing. As soon as *you* and many others EACH want to contribute about $40K for the attorneys?

Yes We Can. But Lets Not.'s picture

Meanwhile this evening, youtube has joined reddit in shutting down free speech, removing pizzagate videos.

youtube is google.  Fuck you, google.  Google is evil.

divingengineer's picture

Curious, almost as if Google had a dog in that fight. One hangs, they all hang. 

nmewn's picture

Its a great observation Vaquero and absolutely true. It really is a mental disease the left has, just think about it.

In order to achieve the great Marxist utopia they profess to strive for, where all proceeds from the means of production are equally distributed among the masses, they advocate for the few to have complete, undisputed, total, authoritarian, dictatorial control.

Its always been right there in front of them and anyone else looking dispassionately at it, this mental disconnect or defect they have (however one wants to describe it) is a threat to normal people. Its either the mental issue described or they are purposefully lying as they try to deceive the un-indoctrinated.

Of course knowingly lying is a psychosis in & of itself but perhaps some other time ;-)

El Vaquero's picture

I'll leave you with this:


If they say that voter ID laws are racist, they are saying that minorities are too dumb to get an ID because they are a minority.  That is literally racist in today's society.  If you work for a government agency, and you refuse to give a non-white person a valid ID when requested, you had better have a goddamned valid reason and you had better document it,  else you risk getting sued.  There is no institutional racism there. 


That being said, if there are any differences in outcome in anything surrounding race or ethnicity, I will come at you with cold, hard data on that front.  Race and ethnicity should not be a reason to ignore facts.

blueRidgeBoy's picture

when racism is defined in terms of disparate impact, then anything can be racist. Even the beach.

El Vaquero's picture

When you assume that somebody can't do something because of the color of their skin, such as acquiring an ID, you are being racist. 

divingengineer's picture

Mexicans have to have a photo voting id to vote in their country. 

Just sayin.

Its a valuable right to be giving away for free. 

anti-republocrat's picture

regressive left accuses everybody else of what they themselves are

This has nothing to do with the "regressive left."  Hillary and her corporate right wing of the Democratic Party are not the "left," though they are regressive.  The "left" has far more in common with libertarians and the Tea Party than your buddies the neo-conservatives, particularly when it comes to issues of war and peace and relations with Russia, China and Iran.  Lots of "leftists" voted for Trump in hopes he would bring an end to the endless wars for "regime change," and look forward to him working with Putin if that's his real intent.

KittyKittyBangBang's picture

i new it all along.......... HA HA HA.......the scibby doo refrenc give it away ..... HA HA HA


“… …push back against the person who posted it with a link to this page… And then tell us, at PropOrNot, about it. For example:

@uninformed_relative: Can you belief there doing this stuff!??? http://www.hangthebankers.com/ww3-globalists-pushing-war-russia/

@you_our_enlightened_reader: Oh my dear relative, I love you, but just so you know, YYYhangthebankers.comYYY has been debunked by PropOrNot, and is totally Russian propaganda #propornot
@uninformed_relative: Wowww what next!? Wonders never cease
@you_our_enlightened_reader: <smug satisfaction>
@us_at_propornot: Hmmmm look at those metrics! Yay!
@vladimir_putin: ??? ??????? ??????? ??? ????? ??? ???????!! And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those meddling kids!!"

-PropOrNot ( http://www.propornot.com/2016/10/an-example-of-manual-propaganda_31.html )


ok of to trawl sum libtards  ..................... whos with me .................... HA HA HA

Shemp 4 Victory's picture

Those sleazy WaahPoo bastards can't even write a straightforward retraction. They dance around the fact that they were either trolled bigtime or intentionally spreading crude, primitive propaganda. They don't regret anything except being caught.

It's really simple, dumbfucks. This is how you do it: "We were wrong. This is entirely our fault."

El Vaquero's picture

At the point  of this post, there are 4 upvotes on my own post that I'm responding to.  This was a post that was edited to a period because I responded to the wrong person.  Look at what I have to say.  Evaluate it by it's merit.  Come at me if you feel that I'm wrong.  Agree with me if I'm right.  But don't fucking upvote a period that is the result of a mistake. 

Bob's picture

Maybe people thought it was a brilliantly efficient--and novel!--way of saying "^^This^^" or "What he said" . . .  another way of simply expressing agreement while saying nothing more. 

Gotta admire invention . . . I like it!  +1

Of course, now it's gonna become your highest vote-getter ever because you're fussing about it and that just makes the upvote irresistable. 

You clever dog, you!

ThanksChump's picture

Vote whiners (and other losers) never prosper.

sun tzu's picture

WaPoop was willingly cucked

Arnold's picture

Multiple lawsuits over an unvetted story tend to focus the mind.

Hata Mari's picture

You beat me to the punch.

Leftists are so used to people whining over things they disagree with (maybe a riot or blocked highway or two), they tend to forget that conservatives use the power of the legal system and the power of their wallets.

I can just see the moment the lawsuit was delivered. "Oh shit! This just got real!"

Doug's picture

I would only amend your third sentence to strike "except being caught".  They don't regret anything.  They offered a fake "oops" to a fake story which they ran deliberately.  I now have zero respect for WaPo, once a greatly admired American institution. 

Arnold's picture

And two congressional investigations.

putaipan's picture

this /\ . what he said. how do i upvote more than once? well thought safelyg.

JRobby's picture

All the sites on the list they published should file class action defamation. 

847328_3527's picture

Until and unless they do a complete retraction, I'd threaten suit. They know or had reason to know this is blatantly false information and sending knowingly false information thru the mail is mail fraud.

Drag them into court and go through discovery .... THAT will be interesting. If wapo refuses to reveal their source, then the court should find them in contempt. If they still fail to reveal, then a presumption arises the article is false and they pay up.

Too bad all the people on their Fake News list don't join and sue wapo. It would carry tremendous weight.

johngaltfla's picture

I've been a reader of Naked Capitalism for almost a decade and he is suing. And he'll win. They are slimeballs and ZH should join the suit to get some operating capital for expansion. After all, CNN could be purchased cheap soon.

LetThemEatRand's picture

Hold on.  I thought we were supposed to kill all the lawyers.

tarsubil's picture

Preferably with piano wire.

unrulian's picture

there's not enough pianos 

El Vaquero's picture

Lawyers are scum of the earth. 


Until you need one.  For most things that you'll need one for, you want a cutthroat bastard. 


In reality, being a lawyer can be just as noble as it can be scummy.  It depends on how the lawyer acts and why he acts that way. 

Arnold's picture

Atticus Finch.

Banned in Virginia.