Resistance-Allied Harvard Professor Caught Spreading Fake Russia News
Harvard lecturer and self-professed member of the resistance, Yascha Mounk, did not delete a viral Saturday tweet falsely implicating Russian President Vladimir Putin in the deaths of several journalists despite full knowledge of its inaccuracy.
Need a reminder of the human cost of dictatorship? All these are journalists who criticized Putin–and died under mysterious circumstances pic.twitter.com/RaOluVumxi
— Yascha Mounk (@Yascha_Mounk) July 15, 2017
The tweet garnered significant attention, drawing nearly 54,000 re-tweets as of Wednesday and increasing Mounk’s social media exposure.
The tweet’s range drew several clarifications from users pointing out that some of the journalists pictured were killed in war zones outside of Russia and others had died before Putin ascended to power.
The original photo, by Mounk’s admission, comes from a 2014 Russian media report celebrating Remembrance Day Of Journalists Killed in the Line of Duty.
Mounk issued a clarification to his viral tweet, admitting his inaccuracy, saying, “this picture includes lots & lots of Putin critics. But also some journalists who died before he took office.”
Mounk’s clarification received only 185 retweets. He continued his clarifications, admitting, “I should have researched the original picture more thoroughly before posting, and used a more precise description of it.” He, however, defiantly stood by the original post, saying, “the underlying point stands: Dictatorships destroy the freedom of the press we need to keep the powerful accountable. And they kill.”
His decision to issue the clarification without deleting the original viral tweet drew criticism from American Interest Executive Editor Damir Marusic, who charged that the “hackish, breathless tweet does grave disservice to actual situation in Russia by overhyping.”
Russian journalists have certainly suffered under Putin’s regime with some deaths ascribed to their political coverage, by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Mounk’s decision not to delete the tweet is particularly noteworthy given his professed fear in a December 2016 Slate op-ed that “propaganda and fake news would become so pervasive that politics could no longer be about truth.” He lamented, “In such a world, politics would become altogether divorced from the realm of facts. ”
“We need to recognize that much of the function of everyday falsehoods is to cloak the importance of dangerous lies and obfuscations,” Mounk declared.
Mounk did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment by time of publication.
Harvard lecturer and self-professed member of the resistance, Yascha Mounk, did not delete a viral Saturday tweet falsely implicating Russian President Vladimir Putin in the deaths of several journali
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