Sunday, January 1, 2017

The Real Source of America's Fake News

On the last day of 2016, which should be dubbed "The Year of the Russian Hackers and Their Links to Fake News", we found this headline news on the Washington Post online edition:

Alarm bells were ringing, those nasty Russians were at it again, this time, hitting the relatively small Burlington Electric System in Vermont.  Soon, the rest of America would find itself without electricity and would be forced to scavenge in the streets for its next meal, saluting the uniformed Russian invaders who were guarding every street corner.

And, to make matters worse, the sheeple of the mainstream American media simply copied what the Washington Post stated here...

...and here....

....and here...

If you actually go to the articles, rather than posting an outright retraction, you will notice that they have changed some of the content to reflect the "new reality" of Russian non-involvement but were too lazy (or stupid) to change the attention-grabbing banners.  This is a highly effective way of not really admitting your mistakes since most people don't read past the first couple of sentences.

Laughably (and frighteningly), Congressional insiders also fell like dominos to the effects of anti-Russian propaganda like this statement from Vermont Democratic Representative, Peter Welch:

"This attack shows how rampant Russian hacking is. It’s systemic, relentless, predatory.   They will hack everywhere, even Vermont, in pursuit of opportunities to disrupt our country.

Unfortunately, as shown here, this screen capture from Burlington Electric actually shows the real problem:

So, what did the vaunted mainstream Washington media do?  They posted this disclaimer at the top of the story:

...and made their problem even worse with this:

"While the Russians did not actively use the code to disrupt operations, according to officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a security matter, the discovery underscores the vulnerabilities of the nation’s electrical grid. And it raises fears in the U.S. government that Russian government hackers are actively trying to penetrate the grid to carry out potential attacks.

Officials in government and the utility industry regularly monitor the grid because it is highly computerized and any disruptions can have disastrous implications for the country’s medical and emergency services.

Burlington Electric said in a statement that the company detected a malware code used in the Grizzly Steppe operation in a laptop that was not connected to the organization’s grid systems. The firm said it took immediate action to isolate the laptop and alert federal authorities." (my bold)

Basically, the WaPo told its readers that "Yes, we were a bit off target this time, but it's not our fault and, anyway, the vulnerability of our electrical grid is a hacker's dream come true."

So, now who's the real source of America's plague of fake news?  I would suggest that it's the mainstream media, members of which would prefer to sit at their respective desks and simply copy news that appears the websites of their competitors.  After all, it's far easier than doing actual journalism for a living.

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