Exclusive: The New York Times, which once postured as the champion of a free press, now is seeking crackdowns on news that the public gets from the Internet under the guise of combatting “Russian propaganda,” explains Daniel Lazare.
By Daniel Lazare
Once upon a time the danger to a free press came from the right. But since Russia-gate, liberals have been busy playing catch-up.
The latest example is a front-page article in Tuesday’s New York Times. Entitled “YouTube Gave Russian Outlet Portal Into U.S.,” it offers the usual blah-blah-blah about Kremlin agents engaging in the political black arts. But it goes a step farther by attempting to discredit a perfectly legitimate news organization.
Reporters Daisuke Wakabayashi and Nicholas Confessore begin by noting that RT, the Moscow-funded TV channel formerly known as “Russia Today,” is now an Internet powerhouse and then observes that when it became the first YouTube news channel to surpass one million views, YouTube Vice President Robert Kyncl “joined an RT anchor in a studio, where he praised RT for … providing ‘authentic’ content instead of ‘agendas or propaganda.’”
Cue the ominous background music. “But now,” the article continues, “as investigators in Washington examine the scope and reach of Russian interference in United States policy, the once-cozy relationship between RT and YouTube is drawing closer scrutiny.”
Why? Because RT took advantage of its “prominent presence on YouTube’s search results” to pepper viewers with negative videos about Hillary Clinton. According to Wakabayashi and Confessore:
“As the presidential election heated up in the spring of 2016, RT consistently featured negative stories about Mrs. Clinton, according to United States intelligence officials. That included claims of corruption at her family foundation and ties to Islamic extremism, frequent coverage of emails stolen by Russian operatives from Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, and accusations that she was in poor physical and mental health.”
The story quotes “the American intelligence…