US reportedly accuses financial blog Zero Hedge of posting Russian propaganda

Topline

US intelligence officials told the Associated press On Tuesday, controversial financial site Zero Hedge spread Russian propaganda, allegations the site quickly denied, as the United States accuses Russia of fomenting false narratives amid a military buildup near Ukraine .

Highlights

Zero Hedge reposted articles from Russian state-controlled media, amplifying them to a wider audience, unnamed intelligence officials told the AP, though they did not accuse Zero Hedge of direct links to Russia or whether the site was knowingly disseminating propaganda.

The AP noted that Zero Hedge published several articles criticizing the US position on Ukraine that were signed by the Strategic Culture Foundation, which the Biden administration sanctioned last year for alleged interference in elections and publicly accused of being controlled by Russian foreign intelligence services.

Zero Hedge denied any links to Russian intelligence and called the AP article a “bizarre hit piece” in a post on Tuesday.

Zero Hedge described the Strategic Culture Foundation as one of several outfits that provide guest posts on the site, and he said Forbes in an email, he does not “screen or editorialize our contributors or guest posters…because we believe our readers are smart enough to form their own opinion on the merits of any given article.”

Forbes contacted the Department of Defense and State Department for comment.

Key context

Russia has stationed more than 130,000 troops around Ukraine, leading US officials to warn that Russia could invade its neighbor within days. The Biden administration has sought to pre-empt any Russian action by make information public on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plans, including asserting earlier this month that Russia could attempt to justify an invasion by staging a fake Ukrainian military attack on civilians in Russia or in areas controlled by eastern separatists from Ukraine. Prior to the Ukraine border crisis, US officials routinely accused Russian-linked groups of spreading false information to an American audience. A Russian-based organization called the Internet Research Agency has been accused of using social media to sway the 2016 election in favor of former President Donald Trump, and the United States sanctioned a Ukrainian politician and “active Russian agent” in 2020 for allegedly posting false statements about President Joe Biden.

Contra

The AP story does not cite any official source or offer definitive proof of Russia’s ties to Zero Hedge. US officials have sometimes been criticized for publishing Russia-related allegations with limited evidence: More recently, journalists grilled the state department for failing to provide evidence of a Russian plot to stage a fake Ukrainian attack.

Tangent

Zero Hedge publishes a combination of financial news, often presented with a terrible and fatalistic inclination— and right-wing political content. He has been embroiled in controversy in the past, facing allegations of editing conspirator and pro-Russia complaints.

About Florence M. Sorensen

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