Yesterday I posted something entitled, “My Deconstruction of the “Russian” malware/power grid hysteria.” It happened to touch upon parallel coverage by small news outlets of the same Washington Post story that I linked to.
I first caught wind of this newsroom meltdown on Saturday night, but thanks to the holiday chaos and other personal obligations, I was slow in putting my piece together, and by the time I finally sat down to type it out, it was 6pm (PDT, or 2am UTC, Jan 2, if you will) before I published my version, independent of anything going on in regards to public accusations that The Washington Post was guilty of perpetuating fake news.
Rather, my approach had more to do with the breakdown in the reporting chain that led to a major news outlet reporting a premature story in an exaggerated manner before applying standard journalistic procedures. “Fake news” was not one of the specific items on my radar screen, though it certainly appears that the WP’s practices embodied that.
And this morning I noted, with some amusement, that the events surrounding Burlington Electric’s, the Vermont utility, discovery of “Russian” malware on one of its isolated laptops was now being touted as a fake news story. In fact, this coverage from RT implies that the news media (ie, The Washington Post) was negligent in its coverage of the evil Russian malware story.
I noted the logical schism and dubious narrative Saturday night independently of what was being noted elsewhere; and now I see others caught the Post’s blaring editorial correction as well.
The difference is that whereas they labeled it “fake news” and thus discounted the deeper implications by accusing the Post of journalistic sloppiness, my inference was that there was something more insidious involved. Yes, perhaps there is some fake news to be teased out of the so-called Russian infiltration of Burlington Electric’s system, but fake only insofar as it describes conscious collusion between the government and the mainstream press which is hardly “sloppy,” but rather, a despicable pointed effort to litter the public playing field with a false narrative that, once unleashed, cannot be returned its cage, regardless of how many “editorial corrections” are published; as lawyers might say, the bell, once rung, cannot be unrung.
This isn’t simply a case of The Washington Post being “sloppy” but an example of how the government, in cahoots with certain large media actors, seeks to shape the vast cultural dialogue which is spoon-fed to an ignorant public that can be counted on to barely respond to concepts such as “enemy” and “dangerous” while possessing little, to no, analytical thinking in the way of dissembling these trite concepts.
With that in mind, I will reprint a portion of yesterday’s post which addresses the American government’s malicious mind control games with the complicit help of the mainstream media.
The Russian hacker scheme is a relentless American yarn. Intelligence keeps drawing up on all their state-agenda resources in order to manipulate the mainstream media, and in turn, a collectively apathetic and computer illiterate populace. The government throws every digital esoteric term and concept in its arsenal at Americans and trusts that, unfamiliar with such semantics (and lacking the will to self-educate), will blindly shudder at the onslaught of hacking verbiage laced with the tinge of Russian evil.
The American government, using a fastidiously propagandized flowchart, goes so far as putting a face on this enigmatic enemy of the state.
Adversary space. Got it?
The Orwellian framing of this systemic hacker flow doesn’t stop here.
Manipulation of the information channels has begun. Information is filtered, sieved, even mythologized. Narratives are inflamed, swollen, corrupted.
As a case study, I would like to point out what happened with reports of the Russian hack of the Vermont (and United States) power grid on Friday.
A rough timeline (as displayed at the end of this post, below):
At 0055 UTC, 12/31/16, The Washington Post published a story with a rather self-confident headline, Russian hackers penetrated U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont, U.S. officials say.
At 0237 and 0240 UTC, 12/31/16, respectively, Burlington Electric, one of 2 utility companies operating in Vermont, rushed out a press statement, and linked on Facebook and Twitter.
Essentially, following the implicating Washington Post story, Burlington sprung to action since it most likely initiated the drama on the heels of a Thursday night alert to utility companies from the Department of Homeland Security that all computers should be scanned for a specific malware signature, and lo and behold, Burlington found one. But before given a chance, the press caught whiff of a happening something and went apeshit in their coverage of said fact, failing to thoroughly vet the facts. Given little choice, Burlington Electric posted a curt and honest statement, within 2 hours, addressing the malware infection found in its system. The utility’s statement was quite unlike the hyperbole that the U.S. security officials fed the media.
Less than one hour after Burlington Electric’s impromptu F.U. to the government, The Washington Post published a revised version of their first rendition.
Somewhat mild-mannered, the headline in this story, published at 0330 UTC, 12/31/16, seemed less aggrieved: Russian operation hacked a Vermont utility, showing risk to U.S. electrical grid security, officials say
The Washington Post, perhaps reeling from its clumsy handling of the initial timeline and attributions, published an addendum on yet another, third, version of the story. This was published at 1650 UTC, 12/31/16, with an identical headline to version #2 from 8 hours earlier.
Much of the text was unchanged, however, at the end of the piece, we find several clarifications.
The first is a perfunctory disclaimer that, in a bashfully understated manner, informs those of us who were paying attention, that the precise verbiage of the original story was misleading (and if you want to take it step further, deceptive).
And then, as if to politely excuse this foray into journalistic inaccuracy, the Post made it a point to add a few extra seasoned reporters to build trust from that which was lost earlier.
In other words, the original writers caved a bit too willingly to the Federal-intelligence narrative, and in fact, embellished it with a few qualitative bells and whistles of their own, but ultimately, the essence of the first story, at 12:55am, December 30, reflected that unadulterated BS pomp and circumstance stinking of the Obama agenda. In fact, it was so egregious that it triggered the Vermont utility company to respond immediately with its own brand of defensive ass-covering, thus snapping in two the governmental narrative, and the story fell to shreds with each subsequent Post revision.
Not too late, however, to herd a whole flock of gentle Americans into blank-eyed acceptance that big bad Russia would resort to using old Ukrainian malware and Tor circuits to hack American elections and power utilities.
While it is not inaccurate to accuse The Washington Post of practicing “fake news” reporting in this matter, we must not lose sight of the fact that there is a real, tangible concerted effort by the Obama government to plant fears and doubts in the American mind that we are under siege from the Russian enemy; an “evil” antagonist that counters the liberal niceties that the left thought it could rely on complacently, at least until the Trumpian reality check of November 8.
And my diagram from yesterday’s post: