Rolling Stone has joined the growing list of media outlets to condemn the Washington Post for its “Russian propaganda effort” article. The outlet described the widely disparaged article as being “shameful and disgusting.”
The Washington Post article, titled, “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during the election, experts say,” claimed over 200 alternative news sites were in fact Russian agents spreading “fake news” to manipulate the US general election, both wittingly and unwittingly. It cited a mysterious group PropOrNot that appears to have existed for mere months as the source of the list, which included Truthdig, Counterpunch and, of course, RT.
READ MORE: WaPo blasted online for article accusing Russia of ‘sophisticated’ US election propaganda
“Any halfway decent editor would have been scared to death by any of these factors,” Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi writes, pointing to the group’s lack of evidence and its unprofessional tweets in response to the story.
Awww, wook at all the angwy Putinists, trying to change the subject – they’re so vewwy angwy!! It’s cute 😊 We don’t censor; just highlight.
— PropOrNot ID Service (@propornot) November 26, 2016
Taibbi’s piece highlights the worrying fact that the dangerous “the Russians did it” story was “uncritically picked up” by other outlets and then “greedily devoured” by Democratic Americans, who he says are “beginning to fall victim to the same conspiracist tendencies that became epidemic on the political right in the last few years.”
My outlet @Truthdig among those smeared by a list that WaPo legitimized as “Russian propaganda.” Taibbi does a… https://t.co/eooU8Fqn6z
— Sonali Kolhatkar (@SonaliKolhatkar) November 29, 2016
How comical is it to see the NY Times, CNN, Wash Post writing articles warning about ‘Fake News Sites’?
— P.A.B.L.O (@pabloisyou) November 29, 2016
Taibbi draws attention to the Post’s apparent failure to contact any of the news outlets mentioned before publishing the story. He said he got in touch with a number of named outlets who said they were not contacted.
Taibbi also highlighted the dangers of journalists who “get into bed with politicians.”
Numerous social media users shared Taibbi’s story, and branded the WaPo’s article as “despicable” and “dangerous.”
@mtaibbi What’s the difference between the WaPo peddling innuendo as fact, and fake news. Laughable if not so despicable.
— Wall Street Examiner (@Lee_Adler) November 28, 2016
@ggreenwald The ease with which supposedly “well-informed” people “swallowed” the “Putin/Russia did it” story is remarkable. @mtaibbi
— GrkStav (@GrkStav) November 29, 2016
@ggreenwald@mtaibbi This is what scares me the most as an American. We no longer know who to trust. That is dangerous.
— ComeTogether (@UseForRealNews) November 29, 2016
It wasn’t long before Taibbi himself was accused of being a Russian agent.
30 November 2016 | 12:28 am