The Washington Post published an article Thursday afternoon which promotes a list of alleged “Russian propaganda peddlers” that includes prominent sites such as The Drudge Report.
The article, “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say,” relies on two groups of researchers. The first is well-known think tank Foreign Policy Research Institute, the second an organization called PropOrNot. PropOrNot did not exist before 2016 and the executive director of the group would not release his name to “avoid being targeted by Russia’s legions of skilled hackers.”
PropOrNot claims to have monitored the internet to find purveyors of Russian propaganda. They identified more than 200 of these sites whose stories have been viewed more than 213 million times on Facebook and have a combined audience of at least 15 million Americans. (RELATED: Liberals Furious Over Trump Victory Demand Changes To Facebook News Feed)
The list of alleged spreaders of Russian propaganda is on PropOrNot’s site and includes some questionable names. Alongside Pravda’s website is popular news-aggregation site The Drudge Report, as is anti-immigration site VDare. Max Blumenthal, a prominent liberal and son of Hillary Clinton ally Sidney Blumenthal, tweeted Thursday that there are “major progressive outlets” on the list. These outlets are ThruthOut and Black Agenda Report.
PropOrNot wrote in their presentation of the list: “Please note that our criteria are behavioral. That means the characteristics of the propaganda outlets we identify are motivation-agnostic. For purposes of this definition it does not matter whether the sites listed here are being knowingly directed and paid by Russian intelligence officers, or whether they even knew they were echoing Russian propaganda at any particular point: If they meet these criteria, they are at the very least acting as bona-fide ‘useful idiots’ of the Russian intelligence services, and are worthy of further scrutiny.”
Still, by definition of being on this list, these sites are described by The Washington Post as “peddlers of Russian propaganda.” PropOrNot has also released an extension for Google Chrome users that will identity articles from these sites with the letters “YYY” around the headline.
PropOrNot did not immediately respond to a press inquiry about their qualifications or the methodology behind their list.