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Putin TV: Aleppo slaughter is Fake News

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been less than a week since Syrian Prime Minister Bashar al-Assad thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for helping liberate Aleppo. But that isnt stopping Russian propagandistsand their allies on the American fringefrom denying that civilians were bombed there at all.

Both Kremlin-backed networks and American far right websites have adopted and deployed the Western buzzword fake news for the very real bombings in Aleppo. Worse, theyre dubbing private American citizens professional propagandists for starting fundraisers in support of afflicted Syrian civilians.

Aleppo has been the home of a forced evacuation over the past several weeksleaving traditional Western media reporters unable to gain firsthand access to the atrocities. But reports from nonpartisan, international human rights groups and videos from the scene show bombed-out buildings and dead civilians in the streets.

The narrative that Aleppo bombings are fake news are taking traditional paths to viral success in Americapolished, easily shareable Facebook videos that have received pickup by mainstream American outlets and wide-reach Facebook pages. What those outlets may not realize is that the material was made with Kremlin money.

Still, the narrative of massive civilian casualties perpetrated by the Syrian government contradicts that of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who yesterday applauded the Syrian army, saying the result of [syrian and Russian army] cooperation is a major victory in the fight against international terrorism.

The most viral of the Aleppo denial claims comes from RT personality Eva Bartlett, who has been claiming that the media is lying to you [about] Aleppo for a year. (In August, she referred to the human rights group Amnesty International as Shamnesty International after the organization requested help in the Syrian city.)

Bartlett posted a video to a Facebook page called In The Now that has received over 2.5 million views in 12 days. In The Now is a Russian-backed viral news offshoot of RT meant to mimic BuzzFeed or NowThis News, and it mostly posts non-political lifestyle stories about things like cute animals and innovative technology.

In this video, however, Bartlett accused the civilians who were about to be killed if they did not evacuate Aleppo of being activists.

What do all of these people have in common? They want you to think theres one side to this storyone truth. That Assad is going from city to city killing his own people, for some crazy reason, with the help of Russia, she says. The question is, do you buy it?

According to Foreign Policy Research Institute fellow Clint Watts, this is an example of a long-deployed Russian information tactic: sow doubt into every media institution, so that every facteven if theres definitive video from a mainstream outletbecomes subjective.

Its not just an information war on Americaits a war on information itself. The point of it is that you cant trust anything. Then theres no baseline. You can say and do whatever you want, and then deny it ever happened, said Watts.

Watts believes this just asking the question narrative about the atrocities in Aleppo isnt newbut those deploying it have been more successful since bloody videos and accounts of horror have made their way out of the Syrian city since the mandatory evacuation.

This plays very much into the Russian-Syrian strategy from the beginning, to get rid of all journalists, said Watts, who is also a senior fellow at the George Washington University Center for Cyber and Homeland Security.

Part of the reason you do that is, if you later need to fight an information war, and you want to kill civilians, all you have to do is say, There is no real reporting here! How can you trust second-hand accounts? Thats what theyve done a masterful job of.

The post has been reposted by RTs own Facebook page, but has received pickup by large pro-Donald Trump Facebook groups in the past several days. The 31,000-person group VOTE TRUMP ONLY - THE AMERICAN PARTY RISING and the 11,000-strong group TRUMP - SPEAK OUT AGAINST ISLAMIZATION OF AMERICA each posted the video in the last several days.

To Watts, this is unsurprising.

Trump has hinted his administration will be closely tied to Putin and Russia, and even glowingly tweeted a quote from the Russian president about Hillary Clintons failure to win the election last week. In turn, Putins approval ratings among American Republicans has skyrocketed. According to Pew, 37 percent of Republicans view Putin favorably, and only 17 percent of Republicans view current U.S. President Barack Obama favorably.

This would be appealing to a Trump supporter. It allows for alignment with Russia in a way that couldnt be possible if [civilian bombings in Aleppo] were true, said Watts. Killing civilians and doing things that are, to most Americans, un-Americanif you deny this ever happened, you can remove that from the narrative altogether. It allows you to be more open to supporting Putin.


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So the Lamestream media have been filling us with lies, Putin has really been dropping supplies and humanitarian aid on Aleppo, and we have been getting fake news Putin's good deeds are really indescriminate slaughtering of innocent children and civilians?

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