#RussiaFail · #RussiaLies · CounterPropaganda · Fake News · Information operations · Information Warfare · Propaganda · Russia

How Russian Propaganda Actually Works


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YourNewsWire.com story which caught my eye, completely and absolute crap aka Russian propaganda aka fake news. In this case the terms are interchangeable.

A reporter contacted me today but could not understand the concept of how Russian propaganda works.  So, please allow me to dedicate one entire blog to showing how Russian propaganda and fake news, almost interchangeable terms, work.

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This shows how the words appeared in the fake Russian propaganda story.

One of the ways I’ve tracked Russian propaganda through the years is to track certain unique phrases the Russian propagandists copy and use in specific articles.  Last week I was tracking a story on a known Russian-proxy propaganda dissemination site, YourNewsWire.com.  My definition of a Russian propaganda site is that the site must contain at least 20% Russian propaganda, the rest is fluff, filler or “cover” – to make the site appear legitimate.  I don’t care what the fluff looks like as much as that 20% propaganda.

The story I was tracking at YourNewsWire is  “Obama To Sign Bill Making ‘Alternative Media’ Illegal“. In the story, the phrase “measures by Russia to exert covert influence” appears, already in quotation marks. I plugged that phrase into Google to see where else it appeared.

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Original Reuters story
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Here GlobalResearch.ca embellishes the story even more
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Here we see RT with the original faked story

Reuters published this (I added the emphasis), which appears to be the original:  “The top U.S. intelligence officer has asked Congress to drop a provision in a pending bill that would create a special committee to combat Russian efforts to exert covert influence abroad, saying such a panel would duplicate current work and hinder cooperation with foreign allies.” Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-intelligencwe-russia-idUSKBN13R2GB.  Please notice two different directions taken by these articles, the original story in Reuters says the effort is stopping, the propaganda story in YourNewsWire says the effort is continuing. If there is any doubt that

Please notice two different directions taken by these articles, the original story in Reuters says the effort is stopping, the propaganda story in YourNewsWire says the effort is continuing.

If there is any doubt that GlobalResearch.ca is a Russian fake news site, here is their version: “When Truth-Telling Becomes Russian Propaganda“.

This is one of the many ways that Russian propaganda works, because most Americans do not check if a story is real. I saw the phrase on RT, where it most likely began and was then spread through a network of other Russian and Russian proxy propaganda sites.

When I did the search, I took the top 60 results and copied them into a document for later analysis and reporting.  It is too voluminous to include here.  Perhaps tomorrow…

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5 thoughts on “How Russian Propaganda Actually Works

  1. I like the 20% rule. I was thinking today about the ZeroHedge thing and noting that an /r/FakeNews user had posted a rebuttal to PropOrNot which was a backlink to ZeroHedge — paralleling the Washingtonian post you commented on earlier and the Washington Post editorial clarification. While browsing the ZeroHedge piece, I was thinking how I would argue to someone that it is biased/fake news, despite the story ostensibly containing factual information… many people might look at it as a one off piece of factual reporting, and not look at it in the broader context of the ZeroHedge editorial strategy. Of course the first clue is the pseudo-anonymous author, Tyler Durden. Second, I have my version of thinking around your 20% rule: Once I know something is likely propaganda, I don’t assume it has no value, but I look at it in terms of what the editorial strategy may be intending to accomplish. You can’t do this with main stream news, because they fact check generally, and have professional editors (unlike son of propagandist Daniel Ivandjiiski aka one face of Tyler Durden). However, when you have a state sponsored news site, you have to assume it is trying to accomplish a strategic goal. In looking at it that way, we can see the attacks on PropOrNot by ZeroHedge, Matt Taibbi, and Glenn Greenwald to be extensions of the I.F. Stone school of Russian-intelligence compromised ideological journalism.

    1. Excellent points, Mitch!

      Prior to the election, I used the exact same process to determine if a mainstream news article was biased or not. Unfortunately most were.

      An esteemed colleague, Dr. Emma Briant, and I have gone round and round about propaganda. She says the US does propaganda, I say we don’t. She’s a Brit. I still stand by my opinion. I’ve seen the excruciating lengths to which US International Broadcasting goes to avoid even the perception of propaganda.

      When it comes to sites like ZeroHedge, CounterPunch, and what not, I believe the author might have a bias, perhaps more than just a few authors, but I think it would be a struggle to say the predominant or even driving force is pro-Russian. Perhaps pro-Socialist, perhaps anti-Democratic, but I’m not the expert. It’s nuanced, it’s splitting hairs, and it doesn’t jump out at me. Not with enough force to say it’s deliberate.

      Would putting out more subtle articles that are highly nuanced be a way to work around my filter? Of course it would. Then we might have ineffective propaganda. But, then again, it might be more effective in the long run, but I don’t believe anybody is really doing that sort of analysis…

      1. How do you feel about this post? : http://bulgariaanalytica.org/en/2016/06/26/zero-hedge-%D0%B2%D0%B5%D1%87%D0%B5-%D0%B8-%D0%B7%D0%B0-%D0%B1%D1%8A%D0%BB%D0%B3%D0%B0%D1%80%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B0-%D1%83%D0%BF%D0%BE%D1%82%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%B1%D0%B0/

        This had defined a lot of how I felt about ZeroHedge as Russian news. I am willing to accept I might be wrong, but they also push the “false flag” story hard which I believe is a hallmark of Russian propaganda: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-04-04/8-reasons-911-could-not-have-been-inside-job (I really dislike this post)

  2. I had accepted this as a good source on ZeroHedge, while I could be wrong: http://bulgariaanalytica.org/en/2016/06/26/zero-hedge-%D0%B2%D0%B5%D1%87%D0%B5-%D0%B8-%D0%B7%D0%B0-%D0%B1%D1%8A%D0%BB%D0%B3%D0%B0%D1%80%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B0-%D1%83%D0%BF%D0%BE%D1%82%D1%80%D0%B5%D0%B1%D0%B0/

    For years professor Craig Pirrong has called ZeroHedge agitprop.

    And then they post false flag stories like this, which I believe are hallmarks of Russian disinfo: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-04-04/8-reasons-911-could-not-have-been-inside-job

    1. I can’t agree about ZeroHedge, I can’t conclude it is Russian disinformation but I also can’t rule it out.

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