By Nina Jankowicz, in “The Wilson Quarterly”
The most illuminating conversations I’ve had about Russian disinformation have not been with ex-Cold Warriors, Russia hands, or government officials. They have been with the people that – according to many of those I just listed – are purveyors of disinformation themselves.
“I don’t believe in fighting [against] information. That’s what the communists did,” Jaroslav Plesl, the editor-in-chief of Dnes, the Czech Republic’s second-largest daily newspaper, told me in January 2017, just after the Czech government unveiled a new center to fight terrorism and so-called “hybrid threats,” including disinformation.
I caught a lot of flak for publishing a quote from that conversation in an editorial on how to fight fake news. A Czech friend in the anti-disinformation field told me that while he didn’t think Plesl was on the Kremlin payroll, he might as well be, given all he and his publication do to amplify the Russian state’s narratives.
My friend won’t be happy to find out that on my last trip to Prague, I met with an editor at Parlamentní Listy, one of the most popular fringe media outlets in the country. It is often accused of having Kremlin ties. Whether or not that’s true, Jan Rychetský, the editor with whom I spoke, described his employer’s strategy very simply: “We try to speak to the people that no one from the mainstream media speaks to.” …
Read the rest of Nina Jankowicz’ piece in “The Wilson Quarterly,” here:
[NEW DATE AND TIME]
Concerned with foreign interventions in your elections? In your news? Do you trust the media? Should you?
You may be surprised to learn the FDR Foundation and Adams House are on the cutting edge of the struggle of democracy against disinformation. Come by to chat informally with Jed Willard about current trends in international media manipulation, defensive media monitoring and analysis, and counter propaganda.
This is an interactive discussion, limited to 14, undergraduates only if numbers allow. RSVP here:
(There is an RSVP option for those who cannot make this time slot but are interested in future events on this topic – make sure to indicate your interest even if you can’t make it!)
Date: 11/13/2017 (Mon.)
Time: 7:00pm – 8:00pm EDT
Location: FDR Suite, B-17, Adams House
Jed Willard is Director of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Center for Global Engagement at Adams House, Harvard University. The FDR Center honors the 32nd American President’s legacy by pursuing solutions to current global challenges while keeping in mind their historical origins. Over the past decade, Willard has been pleased to consult to a number of governments and other international actors, helping them to understand prevalent and emerging narratives – the drivers of public opinion and sentiment – and creating strategies and structures to effectively engage citizens around the globe. His current efforts focus on adaptation to climate change, coping with disinformation, and revitalizing faith in liberal democracy.
Willard is a native of New Orleans, with a Bachelors Degree in History and a Masters Degree in Public Administration from Harvard.