US intelligence officials mentioned “fake news” a grand total of zero times in the DNI report on Russian election interference made public Friday. That omission runs contrary to the narrative some liberal journalists have pushed in which Russian “fake news” outlets sought to influence the presidential election on behalf of Donald Trump.
The DNI report described vigorous “Russian propaganda efforts,” but focused on state-owned Russian media like Russia Today — not “fake news.”
That the DNI’s report didn’t mention “fake news” — much less Russian promotion of it — one time suggests a displaced emphasis on the subject from liberal journalists concerned about Russian interference. (RELATED: DNI: ‘High Confidence’ DCLeaks Used As Front By Russian Hackers)
The Washington Post, for example, ran a story in November titled “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say.” But the Post’s story relied on “experts” whose actual expertise was unknown because they remained anonymous. Facing a possible lawsuit from a site the Post labeled as “fake news,” the liberal paper added an editor’s note to the story noting that it “does not itself vouch for the validity” of those experts’ findings.
The New York Times devoted front page coverage to a “fake news” site with fewer than 150 Facebook likes at the time.
As originally reported by The Daily Caller, “fake news” sites struggle to reach any sort of audience. (RELATED: Despite Media Freak-Out, Data Show Fake News Sites Have Tiny Audience)
Read the full DNI report here.