There's a threat to the future of Democracy, which I believe is highly dependent upon alternative media casting light on truth and challenging the Top Down establishment's lies, distortions, false claims and omissions.
That threat is manifesting as a fake news perpetrated by the mainstream media, which claim to be fighting fake news and propaganda.
OpEdNEws has been listed, by an anonymous website, registered using a proxy registrar to maintain anonymity, among 200 sites they claim are Russian propaganda sites.
That would not be significant if the Washington Post had not featured a headline article citing this anonymous website, propornot.com. I consider this pathological journalistic malpractice. It's really worse than that. This latest salvo by the mainstream media appears to be an attack against alternative media, an effort to kill alternative news voices.
OpEdNews is not alone. Many progressive, left of liberal sites are being listed, such as counterpunch, wikileaks, nakedcapitalism, thiscantbehappening, PaulCraigRoberts, antiwar, BaltimoreGazette, blackagendareport, consortiumnews, globalresearch, truth-out, truthdig, whatreallyhappened
And libertarian/conservative websites are also listed: Drudgereport, prison planet ronpaulinstitute.
An Observer article, Clinton Distraction Circus Hits Panic Mode Over Russia And 'Fake News', suggests this is a ploy of Hillary Clinton's pathetic campaign team, saying,
" Panic over "Fake news" is being manufactured by Clinton partisans as another attempt by mainstream media outlets to avoid accountability and responsibility in elevatingDonald Trump, and improving their coverage to better reflect the issues Americans actually care about."and
"A part of this "fake news" narrative as merged with the Russian propaganda narrative. The Washington Postpublished an article on November 25 in which they interviewed the Executive Director of a new website, PropOrNot, who claimed, without any supporting evidence or describing their methodology, that the Russian Government circulated pro-Trump articles before the election. The blacklist the site has come up with include progressive outlets Counter Punch, Truth-Out (which Clinton Campaign Chair John Podesta received newsletters through his email from), Truth-Dig, and others, alleging the journalists at these publications committed treason. Based on these publications making the list, PropOrNot's criteria for Russian propaganda includes any dissent to corporate mainstream media.
"We strongly suspect that some of the individuals involved have violated the Espionage Act, the Foreign Agent Registration Act, and other related laws, but determining that is up to the FBI and the DOJ," notes the PropOrNot website. InfoWars and other conservative media outlets were cited as well. Though these sites often publish inaccurate stories, the mainstream media does as well (the Washington Post published an allegation that Russia poisoned Hillary Clinton so she collapsed on 9/11), and these sites are based in the United States, funded U.S. sources, and many of them pre--date Putin.
As a Clinton Campaign strategy, blaming Russia didn't work in the general election, but now these same Clinton propagandists are pushing anti-Russia narratives as a smokescreen to push false narratives, without having to provide actual evidence to substantiate their claims. The enigma of Russia provides a convenient source for these conclusions."Josh Mitteldorf has written an article, Fake News and OpEd News
and Donn Marten has written one, OpEdNews Included On List of Russian Propaganda Sites Promoted By Washington Post covering these developments.
There are questions about who's behind this new McCarthyist red-baiting 2.0 combined with the narrative that's evolving on fake news.
I believe this is extremely dangerous to alternative media, to journalists, journalism and democracy.
Google has announced it will de-monetize ad revenues for websites that are accused of providing fake news. Facebook is also involved in "dealing" with "fake news sites." That is a huge threat to all alternative media. Who decides who or which site is a fake news or propaganda site? According to the Washington Post, some anonymous site which does not define the criteria it uses is who. This is dangerous.
The WaPo and the NYTimes, even NPR are going after fake news sites like McCarthy went after people they accused of being communist sympathizers. Now WaPo is going after websites that criticize the US government's policies on Russia. The First Amendment is under greater threat than perhaps any time since the early colonial days when people were charged with sedition.
These are dangerous times in so many ways. We really don't know if these efforts are originating with sleaze ball Clinton campaign people, as the Observer article suggests, or whether this is a strategy by neocons and neoliberals to silence alternative media on moth ideological sides which question the establishment's narrative.
Or/and this could be a strategy by the MSM to get rid of their competition, the Bottom Up alternative media that more and more of the people are believing instead of the Top Down sources. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have both mistreated the mainstream press. Imagine if the messaging onslaught the mainstream media is echoing-- that the Russians and the fake news purveyors corrupted the election-- actually works. If they take down all the sites on the propornot list, they will have silenced many of the major voices questioning the story the mainstream media has been supporting. That silencing will make it much easier for Trump, for the neoliberal, failed Democratic leadership to sell their story and their narrative.
I don't have an answer on what to do about this. Maybe you do. That's part of makes the Bottom Up alternative media so essential to the future of Democracy. YOU get a voice in the conversation.