Above the fold on page one of The New York Times Sunday is the story “How a Putin Fan Overseas Pushed Pro-Trump Propaganda To Americans.” The story details how a fake news site, Patriot News, drew viewers in the U.S. While the story has prominent placement, the man behind the website appears to have minimal influence in the U.S.
The Times article reads: “Patriot News — whose postings were viewed and shared tens of thousands of times in the United States — is among a constellation of websites run out of the United Kingdom that are linked to James Dowson, a far-right political activist who advocated Britain’s exit from the European Union and is a fan of President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.” (For context, The Daily Caller has gotten over 600 million page views in 2016.)
The Times article describes a network that Dowson runs to spread his often fake anti-Clinton stories, but concludes that the majority of his readers are in Britain and not the U.S.
“Online visits to Patriot News did not come close to that, although when combined with several other sites that appear to be connected to Mr. Dowson, the total number edges above a million; most viewers were in Britain,” The New York Times’ Mike McIntire wrote.
Patriot News also has an insignificant social media following, with fewer than 150 Facebook likes. (For context, The Carroll Daily Times Herald, the newspaper serving the small town of Carroll, Iowa, has over 2,400 likes.) Typically a website that has been “viewed and shared tens of thousands of times” would have a larger number of page likes.
TheDC has reached out to McIntire to find out the exact time span the page views occurred and why he thinks Patriot News deserves coverage. He has yet to reply.