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A Clinton Fan Manufactured Fake News That MSNBC Personalities Spread to Discredit WikiLeaks Docs

The phrase “Fake News” has exploded in usage since the election, but the term is similar to other malleable political labels such as “terrorism” and “hate speech”; because the phrase lacks any clear definition, it is essentially useless except as an instrument of propaganda and censorship. The most important fact to realize about this new term: Those who most loudly denounce Fake News are typically those most aggressively disseminating it.

One of the most egregious examples was the recent Washington Post article hyping a new anonymous group and its disgusting blacklist of supposedly pro-Russia news outlets — a shameful article mindlessly spread by countless journalists who love to decry Fake News, despite the Post article itself being centrally based on Fake News. (The Post this week finally added a lame editor’s note acknowledging these critiques; the Post editors absurdly claimed that they did not mean to “vouch for the validity” of the blacklist even though the article’s key claims were based on doing exactly that).

Now we have an even more compelling example. Back in October, when WikiLeaks was releasing emails from the John Podesta archive, Clinton campaign officials and their media spokespeople adopted a strategy of outright lying to the public, claiming — with no basis whatsoever — that the emails were doctored or fabricated and thus should be ignored. That lie — and that is what it was: a claim made with knowledge of its falsity or reckless disregard for its truth — was most aggressively amplified by MSNBC personalities such as Joy Ann Reid and Malcolm Nance, The Atlantic’s David Frum, and Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald.

That the emails in the Wikileaks archive were doctored or faked — and thus should be disregarded — was classic Fake News, spread not by Macedonian teenagers or Kremlin operatives but by established news outlets such as MSNBC, The Atlantic, and Newsweek. And, by design, this Fake News spread like wildfire all over the internet, hungrily clicked and shared by tens of thousands of people eager to believe it was true. As a result of this deliberate disinformation campaign, anyone reporting on the contents of the emails was instantly met with claims that the documents in the archive had been proven fake.

The most damaging such claim came from MSNBC’s intelligence analyst Malcolm Nance. As I documented on October 11, he tweeted what he — for some bizarre reason — labeled an “Official Warning.” It decreed: “#PodestaEmails are already proving to be riddled with obvious forgeries & #blackpropaganda not even professionally done.” That tweet was re-tweeted by more than 4,000 people. It was vested with added credibility by Clinton-supporting journalists like Reid and Frum (“expert to take seriously”).

All of that, in turn, led to an article in something called the “Daily News Bin” with the headline: “MSNBC intelligence expert: WikiLeaks is releasing falsified emails not really from Hillary Clinton.” This classic fake news product — citing Nance and Reid among others — was shared more than 40,000 times on Facebook alone.

From the start, it was obvious that it was this accusation from Clinton supporters — not the WikiLeaks documents — that was a complete fraud, perpetrated on the public as deliberate disinformation. With regard to the claim about the Podesta emails, now we know exactly who created it in the first instance: a hard-core Clinton fanatic.

When Nance — MSNBC’s “intelligence analyst” — issued his “Official Warning,” he linked to a tweet that warned: “Please be skeptical of alleged #PodestaEmails. Trumpists are dirtying docs.” That tweet, in turn, linked to a tweet from an anonymous account calling itself “The Omnivore,” which had posted an obviously fake transcript purporting to be a Hillary Clinton speech to Goldman Sachs. Even though that fake document was never published by WikiLeaks, that was the entire basis for the MSNBC-inspired claim that some of the WikiLeaks documents were doctored.

But the person who created that forged Goldman Sachs transcript was not a “Trumpist” at all; he was a devoted supporter of Hillary Clinton. In the Daily Beast, the person behind the anonymous “The Omnivore” account unmasks himself as “Marco Chacon,” a self-professed creator of “viral fake news” whose targets were Sanders and Trump supporters (he specialized in blatantly fake anti-Clinton frauds with the goal of tricking her opponents into citing them, so that they would be discredited). When he wasn’t posting fabricated news accounts designed to make Clinton’s opponents look bad, his account looked like any other standard pro-Clinton account: numerous negative items about Sanders and then Trump, with links to many Clinton-defending articles.

In his Daily Beast article, published on November 21, Chacon describes how he manufactured the forged Goldman Sachs speech transcript. He says he did it prior to learning that the WikiLeaks releases of Podesta emails contained actual Clinton speech excerpts to Wall Street banks. But once he realized WikiLeaks had published actual Clinton transcripts, Chacon began trying to lure people he disliked — Clinton critics — into believing that his forged speeches were real, so that he could prove they were gullible and dumb.

Sadly for Chacon, however, the people who ended up getting fooled by his Fake News items were the nation’s most prominent Clinton supporters, including supposed experts and journalists from MSNBC who used his obvious fakes to try to convince the world that the WikiLeaks archive had been compromised and thus should be ignored. That it was pro-Clinton journalists who spread his Fake News as real now horrifies even Chacon:

The tweet went super-viral. It started an almost trending — but still going today — hashtag #bucketoflosers. A tweet declaring it a bad forgery was picked up by Malcolm Nance, an intelligence analyst for MSNBC among others, who tweeted to be wary of the WikiLeaks release . …

That did not stop Nance, who with a firm intelligence background should have been able to easily spot the fake with “(chaos)” actually written in the side bar and “((makes air quotes))” written before the “bucket of losers” piece in the completely comical so-called transcript, from referencing the document and saying: “Official Warning: #PodestaEmails are already proving to be riddled with obvious forgeries & #blackpropaganda not even professionally done.” …

At the end of the day, did this change anything? I don’t know. I think I inadvertently hurt WikiLeaks, which I’m not proud of — but I’m not too sorry about either. I suspect that some people came to realize that they were believing in fake things.

That last sentence — that as a result of his fraud, “some people came to realize that they were believing in fake things” — is false, at least insofar as it applies to people like Eichenwald, Frum, Nance, and Reid. Even though it was clear from the start to any rational and honest person that there was zero evidence that any of the WikiLeaks documents were doctored, and even though (as Chacon himself says) nobody minimally informed (let alone supposed “intelligence experts”) should have been fooled by his blatant Fake News, none of the journalists who lied to the public about these WikiLeaks documents have even once acknowledged what they did.

Their Fake News tweets — warning people to view the WikiLeaks documents as fake — remain posted, with no subsequent retraction or acknowledgment of the falsehoods that they spread about the WikiLeaks archive. That includes MSNBC segments that spread this accusation.

Indeed, not only should it have been blatantly obvious that Chacon’s anonymously posted document did not impugn the WikiLeaks archive, but also the slightest research would have revealed that the person who manufactured the forgery was a Clinton supporter, not a “Trumpist” or a Kremlin operative. Indeed, one of the Clinton-criticizing journalists who Chacon tried to trick, Michael Tracey, said exactly this at the time. But because his facts contradicted the MSNBC/Newsweek political agenda, they were ignored in favor of the lie that the WikiLeaks archive had been compromised and doctored:

I will be shocked if any of them now acknowledge this even with Chacon’s confession. That’s because MSNBC has repeatedly proven that it tolerates Fake News and outright lies from its personalities as long as those lies are in service of the right candidate (when Democrats were smearing Jill Stein as a Kremlin stooge, Reid’s program aired Nance’s lie to MSNBC viewers that Stein had previously hosted her own show on RT: an utter fabrication that MSNBC, to this day, has never corrected or even acknowledged despite multiple requests from FAIR).

Every day, literally, you can turn on MSNBC and hear various people so righteously lamenting the spread of “Fake News.” Yet MSNBC itself not only spreads Fake News but refuses to correct it when it is exposed. How do they have any credibility to denounce Fake News? They do not.

That journalists and “experts” outright lied to the public this way in order to help their favorite candidate is obviously dangerous. This was most powerfully pointed out — ironically — by Marty Baron, executive editor of the Washington Post, who told the New York Times’s Jim Rutenberg: “If you have a society where people can’t agree on basic facts, how do you have a functioning democracy?”

Exactly: If you have prominent journalists telling the public to trust an anonymous group with a false McCarthyite blacklist, or telling it to ignore informative documents on the grounds that they are fake when there is zero reason to believe that they are fake, that is a direct threat to democracy. In the case of the Podesta emails, these lies were perpetrated by the very factions that have taken to most loudly victimizing themselves over the spread of Fake News.

But the problem here goes way beyond mere hypocrisy. Complaints about Fake News are typically accompanied by calls for “solutions” that involve censorship and suppression, either by the government or tech giants such as Facebook. But until there is a clear definition of “Fake News,” and until it’s recognized that Fake News is being aggressively spread by the very people most loudly complaining about it, the dangers posed by these solutions will be at least as great as the problem itself.

A Clinton Fan Manufactured Fake News That MSNBC Personalities Spread to Discredit WikiLeaks Docs

The Corporate Media’s Assault on Free Speech: an Interview with Jeffrey St. Clair

“One might well ask which foreign government had a larger roll in assisting Trump’s victory over Clinton and more to gain: Russia or Israel. Sheldon Adelson spent a reported $ 25 million in support of Trump and Netanyahu was publicly campaigning for Trump from Tel Aviv.”

— Jeffrey St. Clair, CounterPunch Editor

Mike Whitney: CounterPunch was listed as one of the 200 websites that, according to the Washington Post, “wittingly or unwittingly published or echoed Russian propaganda”. The shadowy organization that leveled these claims is called PropOrNot, a group of researchers has made every effort to remain anonymous. Rather than wasting our time asking whether or not you are Russian agent (which is too ridiculous to consider) what do you think is driving this group to label and attack the websites on its list?

Jeffrey St. Clair: One can only speculate, since we don’t at this point know who they are and no one would know of their existence at all had it not been for the Washington Post. Even to call them “researchers” may be to inflate their resumés. Mark Ames has tracked down some tweets associated with the PropOrNot accounts that suggest ties to Ukrainian nationalists. But again that’s just speculation until they emerge from the shadows and reveal their identities, a prospect that I don’t think is forthcoming any time soon. In fact, we may need to sue them to finally answer these questions.

As for the Post’s story itself, it was fake news story about fake news, citing fake allegations by fake sources. Hence it will probably win the Pulitzer Prize.

Mike Whitney: How does Russia factor into all of this? Is Washington creating a pretext for an escalation in Syria or Ukraine?

Jeffrey St. Clair: Which Washington? Washington seems divided. FBI vs. CIA. And the Director of National Intelligence versus both. Trump’s election has caused a lot of internal divisions within the establishment to erupt to the surface. Rarely do these kinds of clashes from within what some call the Deep State get fought in public. Of course, there are many bi-partisan reasons to inflate the Russian threat that have nothing much to do with Syria or Ukraine, such as defending big defense contracts, for useless weaponry such as the F-35 and a new generation of nuclear weapons.

Mike Whitney: The Washington Post appears to be incensed by the idea that US elections may have been “hacked” by a foreign government. Do you remember any time in the last 30 or 40 years when the Post was as upset about Washington’s regime change operations which involved the violent toppling of 40 or 50 sovereign governments or the disruptive color-coded revolutions funded by US NGO’s? How would you explain the Post’s selective indignation?

Jeffrey St. Clair: Of course not. The Post and the NYT have supported through their own special brand of propaganda many of those interventions and cover operations. And I don’t think the Post has ever showed the slightest inclination to pursue investigations of instances where countries other than Russia have attempted to sway elections in the US, such as the Saudis and the Israelis. One might well ask which foreign government had a larger roll in assisting Trump’s victory over Clinton and more to gain: Russia or Israel. Sheldon Adelson spent a reported $ 25 million in support of Trump and Netanyahu was publicly campaigning for Trump from Tel Aviv. The Israeli’s have proven track record of swaying US elections. Go ask Cynthia McKinney. The Russians don’t. Not yet, anyway.

Mike Whitney: After months of closely following the Trump campaign in the lead up to the election, I noticed something quite extraordinary, that is, the MSM had lost its power to influence public attitudes. This was particularly noticeable when the numerous sex allegations were leveled at Trump, but his base of support hardly budged. This suggests to me that the MSM is rapidly losing its ability to control the masses by shaping public perceptions. Do you think PropOrNot could be an attempt by “interested groups” (USG?) to reestablish its monopoly on information by attacking the websites and alternate sources of news that pose the greatest threat to its continued control?

Jeffrey St. Clair: Trump didn’t just touch, he frontally embraced almost every third rail in American politics and not only survived but thrived on it, like some super-villain in a Dark Horse comic. It’s quite remarkable really. The MSM media has been dying for years and Trump’s campaign emphasized just how feeble and politically impotent the Times and the Post, as well as the network and cable news outlets have become, at least for an outlier candidate like Trump. By the way, Bernie Sanders also built his campaign in the face of first media indifference and then hostility. But Bernie wasn’t felled by the media, but through the anti-Democratic structure of the Democratic Primaries and the internal sabotage of the DNC. (See my book Bernie and the Sandernistas for more.) The GOP primary system, by contrast, proved much more open and democratic than the Democrats’s rigged system.

I don’t know enough about PropOrNot to speculate about the site’s origins. It seems pretty amateurish to me. But the government has had a role in setting similar “perception management” operations in the past. Recall the Lincoln Group’s contract with the Bush administration to write and pay for propaganda stories during the Iraq war? One wonders whether something similar might be at work here. There’s a history, as they say. But we don’t know enough yet. The real mystery is why the Washington Post ran with such a flimsy, unsourced story in the first place. How much contact did the Post have with actual individuals at PropOrNot and was there coordination between the Post, PropOrNot and members of congress looking to set up a new HUAC-like inquisition on the alleged Russian peril.

Mike Whitney: Is the First Amendment in danger?

Jeffrey St. Clair: The first Amendment is always under attack. What’s new now is that it is being assaulted by the mainstream media.

The Corporate Media’s Assault on Free Speech: an Interview with Jeffrey St. Clair

Source: ONTD_Political

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