Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Zero Hedge Propaganda Site

Zero Hedge Propaganda Site --- ===

*Sources

An Example of Multi-Source Identification: ZeroHedge.com  propornot October 31, 2016 In some cases, professional-journalist reporting has uncovered interesting connections between outlets which we have identified, through our multiple overlapping checks and analyses, as Russian propaganda. Take, for example, ZeroHedge.com. Targeted at Wall St. professionals and people interested in the finance sector, it is now the 407th most-popular site in the United States (according to Alexa.com), with 18.7m monthly page views in the U.S., averaging roughly 8 minutes a visit (according to SimilarWeb.com). It is one of the top finance-industry news sources for American audiences, and was rated as one of the top ten most popular financial blogs in the U.S. by Time Magazine.  Its “author” wrote under the pen-name of Tyler Durden in a heavy-handed homage to Fight Club, and his opinions were frequently anti-establishment and notedly pessimistic.

November 2011, the Streetwise Professor blog did some excellent digging, and is to our knowledge the first time a writer systematically compared ZeroHedge to Russia Today/RT:

‘ZH’s editorial line on the US and European economies parallels almost exactly that of RT. Moreover, although ZH is unsparing in its criticism of virtually every Western government leader, it never whispers the slightest word of reproach about Vladimir Putin or Russia. Indeed, a tweet mentioning that fact almost immediately drew a response from ZH: a link to a ZH piece spouting a common line of Russian propaganda argument about the superior fiscal foundation of Russia as compared to the US.’
Streetwise Professor story goes on to make the connection that the the father of Zerohedge’s founder appears to have been a Bulgarian intelligence officer during the Cold War:
‘Its creator is Daniel Ivandjiiski, a native of Bulgaria. Daniel has a very dodgy past, including losing a job and his securities license for insider trading. None of this is hard to find out: it was covered in a New York Magazine piece that ran soon after ZH first gained notoriety. Mr. Ivandjiiski’s checkered past perhaps explains his clearcut antipathy for Wall Street. But there may be more to it than that. In light of my flash analogy of ZH to a Soviet disinformation operation, what is really interesting is the background of Daniel Ivandjiiski’s father. Ivandjiiski pere (Kassimir) was a Bulgarian “journalist” and “envoy” during the Cold War. 
 in November 2014, the Streetwise Professor Blog ran a followup story about Zerohedge, called How Do You Know That ZeroHedge is a Russian Information Operation? Here’s How, which analyzed a particularly egregious case in which ZeroHedge echoed a deeply misleading story on an obscure Russian-language website, Iskra News, blaming the U.S. for Ukrainian gold going missing from the central-bank vault:

ZH is as much a part of Putin’s information warfare as RT. If you follow closely enough, it’s as plain as the nose on your face.’

Then, in April 2016, Bloomberg ran a story called Unmasking the Men Behind ZeroHedge, Wall Street's Renegade Blog, which extensively quoted a disgruntled former employee of Zerohedge named Colin Lokey, who described “writing as many as 15 posts a day of as many as 1,500 words each”. 

 “I tried to inject as much truth as I could into my posts, but there’s no room for it. “Russia=good. Obama=idiot. Bashar al-Assad=benevolent leader. John Kerry=dunce. Vladimir Putin=greatest leader in the history of statecraft,” Lokey wrote, describing his take on the website's politics...

“I can’t be a 24-hour cheerleader for Hezbollah, Moscow, Tehran, Beijing, and Trump anymore. It’ s wrong. Period. I know it gets you views now, but it will kill your brand over the long run,” Lokey texted Ivandjiiski. “This isn’t a revolution. It’s a joke.”’

r in February 2016, he posted Disinformation Flows - A Second Look, in which he focused down the core referrer network surrounding ZeroHedge:


ZeroHedge.com referrer network (illustration by Andrew Aaron Weisburd)

Weisburd then went on to drill down into the subset of the referrer network subset of the network which included sites that had been flagged on Twitter by the @EUvsDisinfo team as propagating Kremlin disinformation.

Weisburd’s network next graph just included the sites identified by EUvsDisinfo, with the ones in ZeroHedge’s core referral network highlighted in blue:

ZeroHedge.com referrer network focused on sites identified as disinformation by @EUvsDisinfo (illustration by Andrew Aaron Weisburd)

We have systematically confirmed the EUvsDisinfo/Weisburd findings in this case. Weisburd’s comment from that post bears repeating here:

... ZeroHedge’s opinions align nearly perfectly with those of Russia’s official propaganda outlets.

ZeroHedge consistently cites the Russian defense ministry and Russian outlets such as Russia Today/RT, and that coverage is notably slanted towards Russia. Russian claims of Western aggression are given greater weight than competing claims of Russian bellicosity, and ZeroHedge hews to the Russia version of events in Crimea, Syria, and elsewhere. It’s pretty evident to even a casual reader that the site’s coverage is heavily pro-Russian. ZeroHedge is also anti-GMO, and has a frankly weird obsession with the gold standard - both of which common themes in Russian propaganda.

Are ZeroHedge’s owners driven primarily by profit, and their alignment with Russian propaganda merely the result of catering to their readers’ pre-existing prejudices?

Our conclusion:

ZeroHedge qualifies as “dark gray” propaganda, systematically deceiving its civilian audiences for foreign political gain. We at PropOrNot rate it: Five Shadies.