Sunday December 31, 2017
There is no holiday truce in the propaganda war. On this Christmas day, The Washington Post offered its readers a scare story entitled “Kremlin trolls burned across the Internet as Washington debated options.”
The article is long – nearly 4000 words. The only part that is sure to be read in these busy times of short attention spans is the headline, whose two themes are rich in subliminal messages.
First, a slash and burn operation by an army of Kremlin trolls is laying waste to the Internet. Second, official Washington in its benevolent innocence is having trouble facing up to this nefarious threat.
Let’s take these two themes one at a time.
Invasion of the Troll Army
The journalistic peg for this story is a phantom freelance journalist named Alice Donovan whose “first email arrived in the inbox of CounterPunch, a left-leaning American news and opinion website, at 3:26 a.m. – the middle of the day in Moscow.”
Drawing on its abundant intelligence community sources, the WaPo article continues: “The FBI was tracking Donovan as part of a months-long counterintelligence operation code-named ‘NorthernNight’. Internal bureau reports described her as a pseudonymous foot soldier in an army of Kremlin-led trolls seeking to undermine America’s democratic institutions.”