chapter  4
Fake news, Russian bots and Putin’s puppets
WithAlan MacLeod
Pages 19

This chapter argues that the previously dormant anti-communist filter has been reawoken as an “anti-Russian” filter in the media, where organizations, political figures and media who do not fall in the acceptable beltway between Clinton Democrats and moderate Republicans can be tarred as “Putin’s puppets,” reminiscent of the McCarthyist era. This filter has become one of the dominant political issues of the modern era. Using the fight against Russian-backed fake news as an excuse, media giants like Google and Facebook have changed their algorithms, throttling alternative media and re-tightening elite control over the means of communication while governments have dismissed progressive movements, challenging their power and their narratives as Kremlin psyops while it provides a convenient excuse for elite parties, particularly the US Democrats, to explain their poor electoral performance. The chapter argues that the new anti-Russian filter would not have the potency it has acquired if not for the decades-long unofficial religion of anti-communism, intrinsically linked with the Russian state.