A little less than a year ago I posted an small warning I entitled “Why hit pieces should be ignored by our Community” and, in the same spirit, I have decided to post another warning about a related phenomenon (if only because we usually see the same parties doing both things): clickbaiting.
I decided to write this because I am regularly getting emails sounding something like this: “have you seen this article https://www.somearticle.somewhere.something? the author says that “bla bla bla bla bla” (fill with any sensationalist nonsense of your choosing). do you agree? what do you think of this?”
The problem with these emails is that they invariably refer to an author and/or website which are engaging in shameless clickbaiting in order to get attention.
Why do they do that?
Well, for several different reasons:
- In some cases it is simply a question of money: more clicks means more advertisement revenue.
- Sometimes it’s ego: some author has nothing of value to say, but he/she is desperately trying to remain relevant and noticed.
- Sometimes it’s politics: the author(s) have a specific financial sponsor(s) who needs to see the “ideologically correct” line or he/they will cut his/their support.
At the end of the day, who cares why they do what they do as long as we all keep mind what it is they are doing it and why.
Which authors/sites am I referring to here? We probably all know who they are, they are, after all, easy to recognize by the following characteristics:
- They always feature titles about stuff like Putin’s imminent demise, or about how he is about to “sellout” something or somebody, or some other sensation about the Kremlin which, of course, only they know about. If they don’t declare Putin terminal, they typically declare Russian military hardware does not work. These are the “doom and gloom clickbaiters“.
- Alternatively, Putin is an infallible genius who never makes any mistakes and all those who dare to find something to criticize in him or the Kremlin’s policies are a) traitors b) CIA agents c) “gatekeepers”, etc. These are the “Russia is infallible and invincible clickbaiters“
- Fantastic and *totally* unsubstantiated bovine excreta like, say, “Kremlin orchestra shot down by Israeli missile fired from nuclear submarine”. These are the “nobody besides me knows the real truth clickbaiters“.
What they all have in common is exactly *zero* expertise in the field they so desperately try to be noticed in.
One thing they *all* have in common (with one exception, I have to admit) is that they all try really hard to impersonate Orthodox Christians while in reality they know close to nothing about Orthodoxy and their fake piety is all for public consumption (their actual actions are in direct and total contradiction with the Orthodox faith). I guess they conflate the concepts “Russian” and “Orthodox” and they believe that by posting a lot of nonsense about Orthodoxy and Christian values they somehow bolster their “Russian” (or, at least, pro-Russian) credentials. They don’t and they clearly are blissfully unaware that (ethno-)Phyletism is a heresy condemned by the Orthodox Church. They also equally unaware of (Neo-)Sergianism and how devastating this phenomenon has been for the Russian nation and the Russian Orthodox Church.
In most cases these folks would be worthy of compassion, really, as they often are financially desperate (I know that for a fact) or, alternatively, they were “somebody” many years ago but now nobody cares about them (if only because they are completely out of touch with reality).
So next time you see a title click “Putin kidnapped by Netanyahu – Zionist double substituted of real President!!!” or “Thousands of holy Russian spetsnaz-monks about to launch a Orthodox jihad-crusade to liberate Constantinople and Jerusalem!!!” – please don’t ask me to debunk this. I just don’t have the time. Ditto for “S-300 don’t work” themed nonsense.
I also think that our community ought to simply ignore such silly nonsense.
On the top right of the Saker Blog there is a drop-down menu entitled “News Sources”. It contains an (incomplete) list of English-language news sources which I recommend to my readers. If one of these news sources writes something you want me to react to, please email me and I will try my best to reply in a timely manner. But if a source is not on my list, there usually is a very good reason for that, at least in most cases (in some cases this is this can be due to a simple oversight on my part, so don’t read too much into this either!).
Finally, there is the issue of what happens when some major development takes place (like a military attack, or a disaster). The very FIRST thing which inevitably happens is an explosion of rumors, 99.999999999999% of them totally unsubstantiated. Frankly, any serious analysis has to wait long enough for at least some, crucial, facts to become known. So please be especially skeptical of everything and anything you hear right after such an events takes place. Give it at least 24 hours (though 48 would be better), and then see what serious analysts have to say about it.
And please always keep in mind this basic rule of thumb: clickbaiters are never experts and experts are never clickbaiters.
It’s that simple, really.
PS: important addendum – just like with my previous post about hit pieces, I do NOT want ANY discussions about clickbaiters by name (of any specific author or website). First, I have no interest to polemicize with them and, second, let’s not give them any more visibility. Please remember that our community strives to discuss principles and ideas, not personalities. I ask the moderators to immediately remove any comments which would still try to mention specific names.
Thanks for the list of news sources you recommend. I will be checking them out. I was baptized into the Orthodox Church a little over a year ago and because of where I live, I’m quite isolated. It is difficult. Regardless, I’ve had to drop most of the so called alt-right (mostly if not all American Protestant) because I found much of what they were saying was near hysterical, largely false, making them little more than a conveyor belt for the MSM propaganda ministry. Other than this web site I haven’t really come across any other Orthodox who deal with world events. Well, there is one and I’m not very sure about him so I just don’t bother listening.
For all its occasional attempts at impersonating Christianity, the entire Alt-Right ideology is pagan in its nature, hence its generally sympathetic attitude towards much of the Third Reich (also pseudo-Christian pagans).
From an traditional Patristic point of view (which is what true, traditional, Orthodoxy embodies) all these atheistic/pagan ideologies are pretty much equally far away from the “spirit of the Fathers” or the true Christian ethos.
A resurgent Russia (an unexpected event for NATO and the West) has become a target for sensationalism. And the chief target in Russia for disinformation is President Putin. This disinformation campaign is not only targeted for Western audiences, but also for Russians, who have access to the Internet.
When it comes to Putin, the disinformation attacks concentrate on three basic topics:
a) That Putin is corrupt
b) That Putin is losing popularity
c) That Putin is a free mason, controlled by the West
When it comes to corruption, lots of allegations are provided but no proof, including that absurd accusation that Putin embezzled 200 billion dollars, which he stashed in a Swiss bank, of all places. As for losing popularity, the West quotes Russian liberal sources influenced by the West. When it comes to insinuations that Putin is a free mason, that little trick has been used on a number of occasions. The method is simple. Articles are written on free masons, mostly what is already well known. After that a list of well known free masons is given. At the end of the list you will find the name of Vladimir Putin. This little psychological warfare trick is based on the assumption that readers will believe that Putin “is” a free mason, because his name was placed on the list of well known free masons. No doubt we shall be entertained with additional disinformation during the entire Presidency of Vladimir Putin. Personally I find much of the disinformation very entertaining and amusing.
“When it comes to Putin, the disinformation attacks concentrate on three basic topics:”
This is simply untrue e.g. http://thesaker.is/the-russian-pension-chicken-are-coming-home-to-roost/
The complaint of citizen’s is primarily that Putin supports the oligarchs, bankers, big business and Directors of large enterprises to the detriment of most Russians.
Dishonesty (corruption) occurs when one breaks the law but, as everywhere, the law has been designed by the rich for the rich – Putin follows the law to a t.
Anon, stop taking the comments off-topic- take your conversation to the MFC. This post by the Saker is about click baiting. Mod.
You are being very simplistic. Yes, there are oligarchs in Russia. And yes, when Putin came to power, he had a little meeting with them, telling them they will have to follow the law and pay their taxes and benefits to the people they employ. This they did. Russia is now booming. Of course, he could have had them dispossessed, nationalizing all their holdings. And then what ? He would have been accused of being a typical communist KGB type. And after that ? Any more investments in Russia ? You cannot have it both ways. He is doing a fantastic job. You could say he is combining capitalism and socialism. I think it is working. Just look back what happened in Russia when Yeltsin was in power.
Please take this off-topic discussion to the MFC – any further will go to trash. Mod.
Haha, I saw an example of (c) just the other day. It featured a picture of GW Bush and Putin, walking together wearing Masonic looking costumes.
You can make a picture of literally anything these days. Computer graphics have actually been capable of that for thirty years or more, but the new “AI” (I hate that term) graphics algorithms make it much easier, almost trivial, to paste together faces, people, and scenery, and hide the marks of that construction. Video can also be constructed that way, and lately it looks much less ‘cartoonish’ than it used to.
So you need to apply a little common sense. . .
‘On the top left of the Saker Blog there is a drop-down menu entitled “News Sources”.’
You meant top right perhaps?
Thanks Arvy .. It is now fixed.
Thanks for posting this essay. Our challenge today is the same as it was two thousand years ago when Master Jesus counseled his followers to “be as harmless as doves, and wise as serpents”.
What’s funny is that the moral rot and depravity of the West have rendered earlier ”convincing-slanders-for-character-assassination” unusable. I remember in particular a stupid Polak trying to ”prove” that Putin is a paedophile, based upon Putin’s kiss in 2006 of a five-year-old’s tummy. The Polak was so high on his own anti-Russian racism that any understanding that Putin’s popularity would be gone instantly if paedophilia on his part were displayed in broad daylight was totally out of reach. Ditto regarding the ’moral standards’ of Poland’s much revered Western superiors.
I believe that Litvinenko was spreading just that calumny shortly before he got MOSSAD’s Po 210 treatment, the same method they used to get rid of Arafat, who was also vilified post-mortem by the ‘Gods Upon the Earth’ as having died of AIDS.
S, excellent article.
I would add to your list hazbarah’ paid trolls, whose job is to misinform, redirect, etc, etc …
What has been most discouraging for me, over the last ten years or so, is to watch as once-respected publications have simply started publishing propaganda and lies. Perhaps they always advocated for some political position, but by now it would not surprise me to see the (*cough* Paper of Record *cough*) publish a front page similar to the one above, with the crashed UFO and Melania Trump cradling a green doll with antennas on its head.
And that in addition to the usual clickbait about Chemtrails, Cannabis Cures Cancer, and Mr. Putin hurling thunderbolts like Zeus (or popping out of your computer screen, preventing your car from starting, etc.).
I advise you to hear any conference by Dr Guzman of complutense de madrid on the topic.
He clearly states that you cannot say that cannabis cures cancer.
what you can say scientifically is that cannabis plant extracts used in mice with terminal brain tumors revert over 50%, extend life in over 75%, and gives better quality to over 90%
or maybe those are in vitro results? my memory is not what it used to be. go read the papers.
of course it must have been a coincidence that it was classed schedule I just after the preliminary results showed that thc had carcinogenic properties.
What’s funny is that the moral rot and depravity of the West have rendered earlier convincing slanders for character assassination unusable. I remember in particular a stupid Polak trying to ”prove” that Putin is a paedophile, based upon Putin’s kiss boy’s tummy
What I find useful when something big happens which is not totally pre-set is to check all the major sites as quickly as possible in order to check out the initial photos and narrative. Over the first 24 hours there tends to be a reset and elimination ( or perhaps a correction or two) of the first response as the narrative them begins to homogenize and synch and as the information power brokers prepare the psyche.
This happened with the attack on Abbotabad/compound when Al Jazzera had a stray correspondent posted to Islamabad who managed to arrive on scene within two hours and took photos ( long since “disappeared”) and interviewed the neighbors.
As for Venezuela…RTEspanol has correspondents in the main cities of Venezuela , AND some of the Mexican newspapers do also.
I found the 24 hour feed that was hosted here at Saker during the Cucuta political theater event very helpful because we can put two and two together as a group by comparing and analyzing sources much better than the CIA run, so called open source people posing as “just your truth seeking,neighborhood blogger sitting in his little old home office”.
But my bias is that I believe in quality not quantity and that this site is very important for human survival–I hesitate to use the word vanguard however.
For those who read Dutch (or are prepared to use translation software) I would recommend https://www.raamoprusland.nl/
It is a project mainly by journalists with a Russia connection. Some articles are very similar to what you find in mainstream media. But many go deeper and provide a lot of detail. I specially like their articles on economic issues. At the moment their coverage of the Ukrainian elections is also quite interesting.