After national fallout over the Covington boys controversy, CNN is seemingly attempting to shift some of the blame from irresponsible American media organizations to potential foreign agents.
As CNN reports, on Friday the now-suspended Twitter account @2020fight posted a 2-minute clip of the encounter between Nathan Phillips, a Native American activist, and a group of boys from Covington Catholic High School in Kentucky who wearing “Make America Great Again” hats.
The tweet was captioned “this MAGA loser gleefully bothering a Native American protester at the Indigenous Peoples March.”
It’s this caption that the CNN report says “helped frame the news cycle.”
But CNN itself originally framed the incident as “Video captures teens mocking Native American veteran,” and the accompanying commentary by S.E. Cupp, one of the network’s in-house conservatives, took no time at all to get some jabs in at President Donald Trump.
Instead of bothering with any of this, CNN began investigating who might have really been responsible for spreading the story, and found the Twitter account where the profile claimed to be of a schoolteacher from California but the picture is that of a foreign blogger.
To further cement the fact that this account could be from a hostile outside actor, the article cited Molly McKew, an information warfare researcher.
“This is the new landscape: where bad actors monitor us and appropriate content that fits their needs,” McKew told CNN. “They know how to get it where they need to go so it amplifies naturally.”
McKew is a vocal expert on the “Gerasimov doctrine,” a worrying form of hybrid warfare that’s designed to attack an adversary’s society. It’s named after Russian Gen. Valery Gerasimov, the Russian military’s chief of staff.
In a Politico piece in October of 2017, McKew wrote:
“The approach is guerrilla, and waged on all fronts with a range of actors and tools—for example, hackers, media, businessmen, leaks and, yes, fake news, as well as conventional and asymmetric military means. Thanks to the internet and social media, the kinds of operations Soviet psy-ops teams once could only fantasize about—upending the domestic affairs of nations with information alone—are now plausible. The Gerasimov Doctrine builds a framework for these new tools, and declares that non-military tactics are not auxiliary to the use of force but the preferred way to win.”
She even claims the United States is Russia’s latest target for these tactics. Her article made Politico’s “9 Ideas You Need to Understand for 2017.”
There’s just one problem with the Gerasimov doctrine.
Mark Galeotti, the man who first coined the term, seems to be doing everything he can to prove it doesn’t exist.
Galeotti is a senior fellow at the Institute of International Relations in Prague, the Czech Republic, and the former director of the institute’s Centre for European Security.
He recently wrote in Foreign Policy that “the ‘Gerasimov doctrine’ was never meant to mean anything, and it doesn’t.”
If that doesn’t sound sincere enough, maybe the title of his article will prove his regret: “I’m Sorry for Creating the ‘Gerasimov Doctrine.’“
Despite pushing a theory that’s now disavowed by its creator, this isn’t McKew’s first time to be used as a reference by CNN.
In 2017, the high-profile Politico piece written by the analyst was cited in a CNN article that highlighted the growing dangers of “propaganda and disinformation spread by foreign governments through US media sources,” including during the last presidential election.
This highlights a glaring problem in the mainstream media of 2019.
With little to no fact-checking apparently being done, CNN is free to paint a boogeyman behind every Russian speech, and a racist behind every MAGA hat.
And has its own “experts” to make sure it will never take the blame.
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