Washington Post Fake News Provokes Threat of Lawsuit

The Naked Capitalist doesn’t like being blacklisted in a Washington Post fake news story claiming they are a fake news site.

The Washington Post fake news story purporting to report on fake news (seeming oblivious to the irony) is getting the well-deserved pushback. The Naked Capitalist was one of the websites listed as a source of fake news in some vague relationship with Russian hackers.

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Here’s their lawyer’s response. The Daily Caller reports,

A lawyer for Naked Capitalism accuses WaPo of running a debunked list of “fake news” sites in the “sensational” story compiled by a dubious team of researchers, without substantiating their claims or giving Naked Capitalism a chance to respond to the allegation. The Washington Post’s actions constitute defamation, the lawyer writes in the letter published Monday.

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“You did not provide even a single example of ‘fake news’ allegedly distributed or promoted by Naked Capitalism or indeed any of the 200 sites on the PropOrNot blacklist,” James A. Moody writes. “You provided no discussion or assessment of the credentials or backgrounds of these so-called ‘researchers’ (Clint Watts, Andrew Weisburd, and J.M. Berger and the ‘team’ at PropOrNot), and no discussion or analysis of the methodology, protocol or algorithms such ‘researchers’ may or may not have followed.”

In fact, WaPo kept their sources anonymous on the pretext that exposing this Russian plot is dangerous. The entire article is nothing but a question begging conspiracy theory.

This Washington Post fake news story was too much for even Liberals at the New Yorker to stomach. They ran a story of their own exposing its flaws. The Washington Post gave a an organization called PropOrNot a platform to spread kooky Russian paranoia as if it was scholarly analysis. An anonymous spokesman for the group assured the New Yorker reporter that the used “sophisticated analysis that relies on no single criterion in isolation” to identify a website as Russian propaganda.

Yet, when pressed on the technical patterns that led PropOrNot to label the Drudge Report a Russian propaganda outlet, he could point only to a general perception of bias in its content. “They act as a repeater to a significant extent, in that they refer audiences to sort of Russian stuff,” he said. “There’s no a-priori reason, stepping back, that a conservative news site would rely on so many Russian news sources. What is up with that?” I asked to see the raw data PropOrNot used to determine that the Drudge Report was a Russian-propaganda outlet. The spokesman said that the group would release it to the public eventually, but could not share it at the moment: “That takes a lot of work, and we’re an all-volunteer crew.” Instead, he urged me to read the Drudge Report myself, suggesting that its nature would be apparent.

It would be apparent to true believers. But for the sane if is laughable.

Yet this kind of nonsense is encouraged by the President!


How insane is this? Let’s remember Obama’s relationship to fake news.

If Barack Obama really worries that Americans are turning to fake news, perhaps he should ask himself why so many don’t trust him.


Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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