Tuesday, 6 Dec 2022

Opinion | Decades of Fake News, Courtesy of the Kremlin

On Nov. 12, The Times’s opinion video desk introduced “Operation Infektion,” a three-part series about Russian disinformation over the years. In response, we received a drawing from a reader in Missouri, as well as many comments, which are sampled here. The drawing refers to language in the video.

To the Editor:

I’m a mom in Missouri who makes adventure maps, and I’m worried about our country.

I just watched “Operation Infektion” and then made this map (below) of the video. It’s my way of shrinking my fright, managing my anxiety and making sense of what I see. Art is my stress response, and where there is no humor, there is no truth.

Jessica Hoagland
St. Louis

To the Editor:

This video series is so insightful and, frankly, depressing. Too many people these days get their information online. Too many times when I mention some facts that I have read and their implications, I hear: “Really, I didn’t know that.” I am talking about young adults and their significant others, in their late 20s and early 30s.

The internet, social media, blogs et al. have replaced real news stories as the core source of their information and consequent view of the world. This makes this foreign “Infektion” so easy to spread. Yikes!

Donna Rutola
Kensington, Conn.

To the Editor:

Well, I’m shaken to my core. I have a question that must be asked. Donald Trump, the folks at Fox News and other right-wing disinformation peddlers are so good at what they do. Have any of these people been trained, schooled or overtly led in any way by Russian agents? I’m asking if they are willing participants in acts of disinformation, both in technique and in substance.

The reason I ask is that these people aren’t smart enough to figure out such a game plan. There is a big difference between being an unwitting pawn and a willing participant. This opens the door to investigating any contact between these media celebrities and Russian agents or those in their employ.

Now I realize that my question could in fact be construed as disinformation because it has three of the criteria: 1) There is a kernel of truth to it. 2) It initially appears outrageous. 3) It feeds off political divisions. Hey, I learn fast! This is how the game is played. All I need is a useful idiot to spread the question.

But my question is serious in that I hope that Robert Mueller and the F.B.I. are pursuing such possibilities. Or are they in on it, too? See how it easy this is.

Bruce Rozenblit
Kansas City, Mo.

To the Editor:

Russian meddling may not be a hoax, but that does not mean we need to take it seriously. Facebook and other social media are rife with ridiculous stories and claims that we have all learned to filter out or ignore. The hysteria about Russian disinformation serves two purposes, one purposeful, one perhaps not. It purposely seeks to discredit President Trump’s victory. It also casts a pall over our First Amendment right to express ourselves. We should have a right to read and believe any ridiculous thing we choose.

Paul T. McBride
Ellensburg, Wash.

To the Editor:

This is astounding. Thank you to The New York Times and the editorial team for producing this. I’m an executive producer in television, and it makes me want to stay home all day and play whack-a-mole — somehow, some way — to fight against the falsehoods.

I might add that I hope The Times will continue to be as vigilant as ever about the integrity and reporting of its journalists, so that the public trust in this institution as our beacon of truth remains strong and unaffected by the confusion around us. You are needed now more than ever.

Gretchen Morning
Burbank, Calif.

To the Editor:

Just to add some balance, how about a companion piece on United States disinformation operations? An in-depth story, for example, about how the Bush administration used “cooked intel” and post-9/11 trauma to sell Americans the story that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that required an immediate pre-emptive United States invasion. “We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud,” said Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser at the time. Remember that whopper?

Or, to cite another instance, the millions of dollars that Exxon Mobil and the Koch brothers have spent to confuse Americans about climate science, thereby thwarting meaningful action to reduce the existential threat of catastrophic global warming.

These two instances of American disinformation warfare appear more menacing, by an order of magnitude, than anything the Russians have yet launched. Maybe we should first put our own house in order before looking to outside agitators for the causes of our political malaise.

Ando Arike

Source: Read Full Article

Related Posts