Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Users on /r/Politics hate CounterPunch

Lately I've been posting CounterPunch articles on /r/Politics.  I do it mainly to see people's responses.

Last year, the Washington Post published an article revealing that a freelance journalist named "Alice Donovan" was, in fact, a Russian troll.  "Alice" had submitted politically divisive articles to publications like CounterPunch.org, VeteransToday.com, and WeAreChange.org.  As a result, whenever I share a CounterPunch article on /r/Politics, there are people in the comments section deriding the website as Russian propaganda.  Here are some typical responses:
"Russian propogandist site. Don't click."
"MoscowPunch.  Downvote." 
"Garbage propaganda." 
"This is a Kremlin crony source. Don't trust it." 
"Just like /r/politics to upvote literal Kremlin disinfo rags."
"Russian Troll Factory.  Downvote" 
"KremlinPunch, that's a downvote." 
"I would not trust this article, whatsoever. Propaganda and misinformation."  
Some commenters would copy-and-paste the section about "Alice Donovan" from CounterPunch's Wikipedia page.  Other commenters would copy-and-paste the opening section from the aforementioned Washington Post article, which mentions "Alice Donovan" and CounterPunch.

The oddest response I received was from a commenter named /u/LumpyUnderpass, who said:
What is this source, why is it being inorganically upvoted, and why is it whitelisted?
When /u/LumpyUnderpass wrote that comment, the thread was sitting at zero upvotes.  So, if anything, it was being inorganically downvoted.  Also, when a commenter on /r/Politics says: 'Why is this site whitelisted?' it's usually in response to some right-wing publication like Breitbart or  DailyCaller.  It's the type of question you ask after you've already formed an opinion about a website.  So it doesn't make sense that /u/LumpyUnderpass would ask "Why is it whitelisted" and, in the same breath, ask "What is this source?"  It's like he took three possible default responses and combined them into one Frankenstein comment.   

None of the commenters directly accused the editors of CounterPunchJeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frankof being Russian propagandists.  Nor did the commenters call out any of the authors whose bylines appeared on the articles.  (Heck, one of the articles that I submitted was written by Jesse Jackson, so it would've been a bold strategy to accuse him of being a Russian stooge!)  Instead, most of the rhetoric focused on the publication itself.

In total, I submitted ten CounterPunch articles over the course of ten days.  I'll have to cut back on that frequency, because by the end of the streak some commenters were suggesting I was a Russian troll.  User /u/TwilitSky wrote this comment, which got 17 upvotes:
For anyone wondering, the time in St. Petersburg Russia is 9:04 AM which just happens to be 4 minutes after this compromised shitsource was posted.
There's a thin line between doing something to see the reaction, and doing something to get a reaction.  I don't participate much in the comments on /r/Politics, and so people might wonder why I was making these threads.  If I share another CounterPunch link in /r/Politics, I'll have to choose an article that I'm willing to defend in the comments section.  Maybe that will affect the dynamic.   

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