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Abbreviated pundit roundup: Mnuchin the predator; Bill O'Reilly's apologia; too many generals?

It would be nice to get the fake news out of the real news outlets.

If you haven’t yet heard about it, in a much-discussed article published on Thanksgiving about Russian propaganda being spread by on-line sites,The Washington Post’s Craig Timberg called the accusing group PropOrNot “a nonpartisan collection of researchers with foreign policy, military and technology backgrounds.”

Timberg and his editors have quite rightly drawn a lot of flak for it, having concealed the identity of the group’s director. Not that no story should have been written, and not that anonymity isn’t sometimes warranted, but the focus ought not to have been a promotional piece for a shadowy organization that is all too reminiscent of one of Ann Coulter’s heroes, who notoriously said: “I have here in my hand a list ...” 

The site’s operators deny any McCarthyist intent and, in the introduction of their list of outlets that they claim regularly repeat Russian propaganda, state: “This is NOT a list of  “paid” or “knowing” propaganda sources. It is NOT an attempt to censor, blacklist, or tar anyone. [...] We highlight. Unlike the Russian government, we do not censor.” 

Seriously? Not trying to tar anyone with a list whose impact is akin to calling the operators of these outlets “useful idiots”?

Alexander Reed Kelly at Truthdig, one of the sites that PropOrNot includes on the list, wrote:

James Carden, a contributor to The Nation, exchanged messages with Timberg:

In the days following the publication of the report, I e-mailed both Timberg and Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron asking whether it was appropriate for the paper to cite the “findings” of an anonymously authored blacklist. Timberg’s initial response was, “If you want a hand in reporting what I reported on—what researchers say about Russian efforts to influence the election—I am happy to lend a hand on background.”

When I followed up by asking, “What convinced you to run a story based partly on the ‘data’ and claims of this group—which doesn’t identify its members or funders and has named some very respectable outlets like Naked Capitalism and Consortium as Russian ‘propaganda’?,” Timberg quickly withdrew his offer of assistance, writing, “Questions about decisions about what the Post publishes and why are properly directed to Marty Baron.”

Baron has yet to respond.

On to the pundits.

Abbreviated pundit roundup: Mnuchin the predator; Bill O'Reilly's apologia; too many generals?

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