Mainstream Outlets Forced To Issue Several Corrections On Russian Hacking Stories
Mainstream news outlets have issued several corrections to their articles related to Russia and hacking, affirming that deceptive or “fake news” is pervasive in media.
Fortune magazine, for example, felt the need to change the headline of their article after the publication reported that C-SPAN, an American cable television service covering public affairs, namely the U.S. government, was hacked by a Russian news site. The title even claimed that C-SPAN confirmed the incident, even though it actually clarified that the network online feed was interrupted due to an “internal routing error,” which is quite different.
“Correction: This story originally ran under the headline ‘C-SPAN Confirms It Was Briefly Hacked by Russian News Site,’ the Fortune article now reads. “C-SPAN confirmed that an interruption took place but has not yet identified the cause of the interruption,” the notice continued.
Slate, another liberal media outlet, published a piece with an evocative, even conspiratorial, title, “Was a Trump Server Communicating With Russia?” Slate was forced to update and correct the article after alluding to the prospect of someone affiliated with then-Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump or his campaign installing a backchannel mechanism to communicate with a bank in Russia.
The author of the Slate piece even published a follow-up story a couple days later in an attempt to reconcile any inconsistencies in his original story.
But news outlets like The Washington Post jumped on the problems within the story before Slate could publish its follow-up piece called “Trump Server, Revisited.”
WaPo itself bungled three stories on Russian meddling in a span of weeks, including one purporting that Russia successfully hacked America’s electric grid.
“An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Russian hackers had penetrated the U.S. electric grid,” the Editor’s Note now reads, indirectly signaling why the story and its headline are different than when it was initially published. Burlington Electric, a utility company in Vermont, released a statement only hours after the original report to explain that the virtually invaded device was not connected to the country’s comprehensive electric grid.
Kalev Leetaru of Forbes aptly pointed out in a critical review that WaPo’s article expanded from 8 to 18 paragraphs, indicating that this was an almost complete re-write under the guise of a simple update.
Like WaPo, The Guardian has also been forced to update an article due to a highly misleading representation of Julian Assange’s views on President Donald Trump — some viewed the debacle as a blatant attempt to continue an oft-professed narrative that Russia helped Trump win the election.
The Washington Post also wrote a story titled “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say.” The ostensible experts included an eerily anonymous group called PropOrNot, which named 200 websites “that, in in its view, wittingly or unwittingly published or echoed Russian propaganda,” according to the editor’s note. PropOrNot has since removed sites from its original list due to intense backlash from both sides of the aisle and WaPo has been hit with a defamation lawsuit from at least one of the named publications.
“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, the attorney for the media outlet, wrote at the time.
Glenn Greenwald of the Intercept wrote a scathing article titled “WashPost Is Richly Rewarded for False News About Russia Threat While Public Is Deceived.”
Ironically, the first words in the opening line of the WaPo article on propaganda in America: “The flood of ‘fake news.’”
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