Karma for MH17. Shot Down to Start a War in the Middle East. Russian Media on Ukrainian Airliner Iran Crash

Karma for MH17. Shot Down to Start a War in the Middle East. Russian Media on Ukrainian Airliner Iran Crash

Russian media began peddling diverse versions of what brought down the Ukrainian Boeing 737 passenger jet within hours of its tragic crash near Tehran. A leading narrative is that the US shot the plane down in order to start a war in the Middle East. The Iranian side meanwhile was claiming that the plane had malfunctioned.  Here is a roundup of the main themes about the crash featured in leading

Sputnik mistakes Russian-made missile for American, mocks its effectiveness

By Polygraph SputnikRussian state-owned media outlet“A video of a US TOW anti-tank missile being fired at a Syrian armed forces T-62 tank has emerged on social media; the decades-old military hardware was left virtually unscathed.”Source: Sputnik, Dec. 27, 2019 False The missile on the video was most likely a Russian Metis-M, definitely not a TOW. On Dec. 27, the Russian state-owned media outlet Sputnik News posted a story based on

Disinformation in 2019: Ten Embarrassing Moments

By EU vs Disinfo Disinformation is a serious global threat to democracy. However, disinformation is not always the result of a powerful actor’s well-coordinated plan. In some cases, mistakes are made – and then the manipulations expose themselves as impotent and rather desperate. We collected ten examples from 2019 when pro-Kremlin sources were caught in the act of producing particularly embarrassing disinformation. Don’t Mention Crimea! References to the invasion of Crimea were removed

Lies get further normalized

By Peter Bale, for NiemanLab “It’s no accident that academic and journalist Peter Pomerantsev’s first book, about the wild days of journalism in Russia, was called ‘Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible.’” Peter Bale Truth will be the big casualty of 2020 as the U.S. presidential elections follow the 2016 campaign and the 2019 British general election in reframing the lie as the center of political discourse. Lies and

Fake: US and Ukraine Preparing New Chornobyl for Russia

Russia is facing a new Chornobyl disaster warned Tsargrad, a television station affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church and Russia’s security forces. The US is preparing an atomic apocalypse for Russia using Ukraine, Tsargrad declared earlier this week after the Zaporizhzhia South Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plant’s third reactor on shut down briefly on January 4. According to Tsargrad the shutdown was caused by the American nuclear fuel that the power

A smarter conversation about how (and why) fact-checking matters

By Lucas Graves, for NiemanLab “The facts unearthed by reporters and other watchdogs are a resource for public action, but they tend to make a real difference only when they are mobilized by political campaigns or social movements, or used to trigger institutional responses from regulators or the courts.” Lucas Graves If recent history is any guide, the U.S. presidential contest next year will bring a surge in political fact-checking

Syria accuses Americans of supporting IS after U.S. helped free most of country from the group

By Polygraph Walid MuallemSyrian Foreign Minister“The Americans are using ISIS as a scarecrow. At the same time they are feeding ISIS, encourage them, protect ISIS leaders and help them move from one area to another.” Source: RT, Dec. 25, 2019 False The U.S. fights Islamic State. On Dec. 25, the Russian state-owned media outlet RT (Russia Today) published an interview with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muhallem, in which he accused

‘Russian world’ should be understood as ‘infectious psychiatric disorder,’ Altufyev says

By Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia The Russian world has been defined and approached from many different directions, with some arguing that it includes all those who speak Russian and thus share in a common culture and others that it is a modified version of Sovietism with a set of quite specific ideological features. But almost all of these approaches treat it as a political phenomenon, one that can be

Top targets of the pro-Kremlin media in Arabic in 2019: The fight against terrorism and White Helmets

By EU vs Disinfo As the year comes to an end, here is an overview of the strategy of pro-Kremlin media vis-à-vis their audiences in the Middle East and North Africa with a focus on the most striking recurring narratives that they have been spreading over the year. Over the past year, pro-Kremlin outlets have consistently been spreading narratives and conspiracy theories that are in line with the Kremlin’s definition

Geneva Overholser: Death to bothsidesism

By Geneva Overholser, for NiemanLab “In day-to-day political reporting, the Times is hopelessly stuck in the past. Its proud allegiance to presenting ‘both sides’ in a time of political breakdown renders it a handmaiden to the degradation of truth.” Geneva Overholser I predict (pray?) that in 2020, the leaders of our national newspapers will see at last how they are assisting in the despoliation of our democracy — and how

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