MINNEAPOLIS — On November 24, the European Union — that self-professed haven of free speech — passed a nonbinding resolution aimed at combating Russian state-owned media.
Accusing Russia of undermining “democratic values” and seeking to “divide Europe” via its media networks, the document specifically calls out RT, despite the fact that less than 0.1% of European TV viewers even watch the network.
It’s the Cold War 2.0, and this McCarthyist, “red scare” type of fear-mongering against Russia is being used not just to disenfranchise unpopular views, but to muzzle watchdogs and censor alternative media throughout the so-called “free world.”
The same day the EU passed its resolution to counter what it calls “propaganda warfare,” the Washington Post ran a hit piece outing many progressive and alternative watchdog journalism outlets as “Russian propaganda tools.” According to the report, these outlets, including MintPress, Truthdig and Truthout, were responsible for handing Donald Trump the presidency by publishing “fake news” about Hillary Clinton during the campaign.
PropOrNot states that, by its standards, “Russian propaganda” includes any site which criticizes the “US, Obama, Hillary Clinton, the EU, Angela Merkel, NATO, Ukraine, Jewish people, US allies, the ‘mainstream media,’ and democrats, the center-right or center-left, and moderates of all stripes.”
That’s broad, to say the least, but it boils down to this:
If you’re a watchdog journalist, upholding the First Amendment, defending constitutional rights, and working to revive the fourth estate from an expanding war machine and surveillance state — PropOrNot will out you as a minion of Moscow.
And while some of the 200 websites on PropOrNot’s “The List” do publish stories which are blatantly false, calls to “take action” against “fake news” have led some writers to warn about the potential for censorship of unpopular opinion.
Here to discuss the consequences for independent media outlets caught up in the “fake news” frenzy is Shadowproof’s managing editor, Kevin Gosztola.
I began by asking him how we — members of independent media and the watchdog journalism world — can combat the real “fake news” and propaganda spread by the mainstream, establishment media.
Learn more about fake news and see the top censored stories of 2016 in the full episode of Behind The Headline:
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