While the phrase “fake news” only became known in late 2016, months earlier politicians from both sides of the aisle were quietly working away to pass a new law that would allow the government to combat it. The American government is fine with propaganda, as long as it’s their propaganda.
The Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act was written in March of 2016 by Republican Senator Rob Portman (OH) and Democratic Senator Chris Murphy (CT). It was introduced to both houses with bi-partisan support, and included in the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed through both houses easily with support from the majorities of both parties.
The bill aims to “counter foreign propaganda and disinformation directed against United States national security interests and proactively advance fact-based narratives that support United States allies and interests”.
Keep in mind, this was written long before the Podesta Wikileaks scandal and the subsequent Pizzagate conspiracy theory. Fake news was only seen as a problem post-election, so what is this “foreign propaganda” that Portman and Murphy were talking about? Believe it or not – RT News.
Although the DNI report on Russian influence revealed no actual evidence of Russian influence, it was quickly reported by the New York Times as a damning report that proved Russia had interfered. They did so through RT News, according to Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper,
“RT was very active in promoting a particular point of view, disparaging our system, our alleged hypocrisy about human rights, etc. Whatever crack, fissure they could find in our tapestry, they would exploit it.”
Ironically, Clapper was the same man who told the American people that the NSA was not collecting data on all Americans, tracking their phone calls, emails, and text messages, only to be proven a liar by NSA whistle blower, Edward Snowden.
On Sunday, former CIA Director Michael Hayden told MSNBC that he was worried that Donald Trump seems to trust Wikileaks founder Julian Assange more than the intelligence community. Let’s check the records. CIA – lies to Americans constantly. Wikileaks – never published a fake document. Can anyone blame Trump for his distrust of the CIA, FBI, and all U.S. intelligence?
Given the CIA’s history of manipulating the news, and also given the new Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act, Americans need to be ever more wary of the news they are getting. The act was already passed, the precedent has already been set, and while the motives are not known, the government-run propaganda machine is already fighting its enemy – the American people.