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Neo-Nazi media outlets under investigation for possible Russian ties

by Aaron Cerbone - News Editor
Tue, Apr 4th 2017 10:35 pm
Photo taken from Breitbart.com

Media sites like Breitbart (above) and Infowars are under investigation by the FBI for possible ties to the Russian government. This alleged team up is an attempt to spread propaganda that would put Russia in a positive light with the public.
Photo taken from Breitbart.com Media sites like Breitbart (above) and Infowars are under investigation by the FBI for possible ties to the Russian government. This alleged team up is an attempt to spread propaganda that would put Russia in a positive light with the public.

 Federal investigators are currently looking into claims that far-right news sites Breitbart and Infowars took part in a Russian cyber operation to spread politically biased and false news stories. 

Over the past four months I have written two other articles about Breitbart and Infowars, two politically motivated conspiracy theory sites. They have a concerning influence on legitimate politics, voters and even the policy decisions of President  Donald Trump. The media and politics have just started to realize how powerful these media sites are as their audiences continuously increase daily.

Amidst this growth in popularity, the sites are now under investigation for ties to Russia and an attempt to misinform their viewers with slanted pro-Russian stories.

This investigation from the Federal Bureau of Investigation is incredibly serious; lying to the people in this country to influence politics is an aggressive act for Russia to take.

The cyber attacks were designed to expose millions of Americans to false information and political bias, spreading lies and uneducated opinions into political discourse.

"The bots' end products were largely millions of Twitter and Facebook posts carrying links to stories on conservative internet sites such as Breitbart News and Infowars, as well as on the Kremlin-backed RT News and Sputnik News, the sources said. Some of the stories were false or mixed fact and fiction," according to the McClatchy DC article, "FBI's Russian-influence probe includes a look at Breitbart, InfoWars news sites" by Peter Stone and Greg Gordon.

Breitbart and Infowars have become policy and opinion trendsetters for the far-right and Trumpeters. Their articles obviously favor Trump and Russia, but they also support Trump's idea that America should be on friendlier terms with the superpower. While it is framed as a legitimate political strategy, a country trying to overturn governments around the world does not seem like a good idea.

Not only is this an attack on American politics, it is also an attack on American media and an attempt to control American voters for Russian interests. Breitbart, for example, primarily deals in good news about Trump and Russia, calling every other news source "fake" and then running pro-Russia articles like, "Trump: Only 'stupid' people, fools oppose better Russia ties" which spins the story in about as subtle a way as the headline. 

According to The New York Times article "How Breitbart has become a dominant voice in conservative media" by Paul Farhi, the site had 17 million unique visitors in 2016 and with many people only getting their news from Breitbart because they claim to be the only trustworthy news source, Russia is able to control the opinions of American minds from Moscow.

This may sound like a far-fetched scheme out of a cheesy spy film but it actually follows Russia's business model for influencing foreign politics. According to the USA Today article, "Russia engineered election hacks and meddling in Europe" by Oren Dorell, investigators attributed Russian hackers in cyberattacks in Ukraine, Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany, France and Austria. This was more than just hacking phones and computers too. They were directed at influencing public opinion in media and politics.

"[The attacks] aimed at influencing election results, sowing discord and undermining faith in public institutions that included government agencies, the media and elected officials," according to Dorell.

These attacks were to destabilize political climates, elect pro-Russian leaders and become a source of false and pro-Russian news for the country. In Germany and Sweden it was discovered that Moscow has been responsible for planting fake stories to swing public opinions and votes.

According to The New York Times article, "A Powerful Russian Weapon: The Spread of False Stories" by Neil Macfarquhar, Sweden experienced, "a flood of distorted and outright false information on social media, confusing public perceptions of the issue."

Russia has been tampering with global politics for a while now, trying to gain power by electing friendly leaders and disrupting political and media processes. This description of attacks on foreign countries sounds frighteningly similar to what has happened in the United States this past election.

We will have to wait to see what the results of this investigation are before it can be confirmed if any of these allegations are actually true. However, considering Breitbart's and Infowars' influence and Russia's history of attacks on other countries using similar methods, it is already significant that this investigation is happening in the first place.

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