WashPost Is Richly Rewarded for False News About Russia Threat While Public Is Deceived – The Intercept
In the past six weeks, the Washington Post published two blockbuster stories about the Russian threat that went viral: one on how Russia is behind a massive explosion of “fake news,” the other on how it invaded the U.S. electric grid. Both articles were fundamentally false. Each now bears a humiliating editor’s note grudgingly acknowledging that the core claims of the story were fiction: The first note was posted a full two weeks later to the top of the original article; the other was buried the following day at the bottom.The second story on the electric grid turned out to be far worse than I realized when I wrote about it on Saturday, when it became clear that there was no “penetration of the U.S. electricity grid” as the Post had claimed. In addition to the editor’s note, the Russia-hacked-our-electric-grid story now has a full-scale retraction in the form of a separate article admitting that “the incident is not linked to any Russian government effort to target or hack the utility” and there may not even have been malware at all on this laptop.But while these debacles are embarrassing for the paper, they are also richly rewarding. That’s because journalists — including those at the Post — aggressively hype and promote the original, sensationalistic false stories, ensuring that they go viral, generating massive traffic for the Post (the paper’s executive editor, Marty Baron, recently boasted about how profitable the paper has become).
It’s heartening to see the comments section on the WashPo’s website to be filled almost exclusively with people taunting them for becoming Mad Magazine, but everyone who went to the site to slam them is a page view that can be used to bolster advertising fees. The best way to deal with propaganda is to ignore it entirely. While I will undoubtedly refer to WashPo and NY Times articles in the future, I will avoid linking to their sites. These two fake news entities have become such an overwhelmingly negative influence on this country that I can no longer link to them.