The effort to shut down the alternative media following the election victory of Donald Trump is kicking into high gear.
On November 16 PolitiFact declared it would “fight back against fake news” and produced a hit list of alternative media sites.
Blacklisted News is included on a list compiled by a site created specifically to target alternative media the establishment wants eliminated.
Targeted news sites include Activist Post, Consortium News, the Corbett Report, Global Research, the websites of Lew Rockwell and Paul Craig Roberts, WikiLeaks, and many others. A few sites on the list are in fact fake news websites and others satirical.
The targets are diverse politically, from the alt right website Drudge Report to the more progressive Consortium News and Counterpunch.
It should be noted PolitiFact is a creation of the corporate newspaper the Tampa Bay Times and is regularly accused of political bias. The site boasts it won the Pulitzer Prize, a clear indication of its establishment status.
Prior to the PolitiFact effort, a website called Is It Propaganda Or Not surfaced. It posted a list of “fake” news websites and claims the Russians are involved.
We assess that this overall Russian effort is at least semi-centralized, with multiple Russian projects and influence operations working in parallel to manage the direct and outsourced production of propaganda across a wide range of outlets… There are varying degrees of involvement in it, and awareness of involvement. Some people involved seem genuinely unaware that they are being used by Russia to produce propaganda, but many others seem to know full well.
Democrats claimed the Russians were meddling in US politics when it became obvious Donald Trump actually had a chance to win the White House. There is virtually no evidence the Russians had anything to do with the outcome of the election, the hacking of the DNC, and even less evidence it is nefariously exploiting American and European alternative news websites to push propaganda.
This is part of a concerted effort to eventually deny “fake news” websites access to the web or at best relegate them to a far corner not reached by corporate search engines and more importantly eschewed by advertisers.
The corporate media no longer controls the news cycle. The propaganda it receives and reports from the government is now critically analyzed and debunked on social media within minutes. Millions of Americans no longer watch the corporate alphabet news networks or read corporate newspapers. In May, Pew Research reported 62% of US adults get their news from social media. Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr are more influential than the New York Times, The Washington Post, and other corporate establishment newspapers and websites.
It remains to be seen if Google, Twitter, and Facebook will take more draconian measures to shut down alternative media posts and links to websites targeted by the establishment. A transfer of the internet’s Domain Naming System now underway also may threaten sites the government says are fake or foreign propaganda.
How do we fight back against this? First and foremost, Facebook and Twitter must be reminded they have a responsibility to the First Amendment and the free exchange of ideas.
Facebook et al are, of course, privately owned corporations and as such can deny service to anybody they want. The vast majority of the names of the fake news hit list, however, are legitimate news websites. Blocking access to them is not only a terrible public relations move, but also reveals they are tools for government coercion and censorship.
Finally, corporations are sensitive to public opinion and how that reflects on their bottom line. A large number of people emailing Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms and expressing their opposition to the targeting of alternative news may have an impact on what ultimately happens.