No, Russia didn't hack Vermont's power grid

Well I think it’s pretty damn obvious that queer people don’t lead to the downfall of civilization. Similarly having a preference for sex with folk of the same sex is not a definition of pedophilia, nor is it correlated with pedophilia.

However, just because Putin is wrong about that shit, and a gangster and thief, it doesn’t mean everything he says is wrong.

I mean just compare Putin with Rick Perry.

Besides, what exactly is a good thing to do about Putin? When you say “underplay” what would you suggest people are doing wrong?

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Looks like the post printed a correction (at least online). Thank you Glen and others for calling them to task.

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On the contrary, that’s an excellent definition of fake news. And it’s not OK.

Just like any other lie, the most effective fake news contains as much truth (real news) as possible.


Being wrong is not lying in any possible definition of the word. Being wrong never was, and never will be, the same as making things up. By decrying bad journalism as fake news you are giving actually fake (as in fabricated) news a larger and more important platform by dismissing all media as fake.


As above: Puzzled by C. Doctorow, and amazed at how quickly Fake News is flocking to defend Trump’s benefactors in Russia.

Here’s a rigorously researched piece by the Wall Street Journal Cyberattacks Raise Alarm for U.S. Power Grid / Wall Street Journal – hardly fake news or on the same side of the political spectrum as the Post. No mention of the Vermont episode – but extensive evidence and context about what Russia has been up to:

‘American officials believe a cyber-campaign against the U.S. energy industry in 2014 resulted in at least 17 companies’ systems being penetrated, including four electric utilities… The U.S. power grid is a gigantic system of interconnected electric networks, which means successfully taking down one or more utilities could destabilize larger areas of the grid.’

Why the urge to deny?


Ukrainian malware actually.


Roughly speaking, “wrong” news falls into one of the following categories:

|                 | ACCIDENTAL     | DELIBERATE     |
| IDEOLOGICAL     |     (1)        |      (2)       |   
| NON-IDEOLOGICAL |     (3)        |      (4)       |

Category (3) is what happens when sites like the WaPo fuck things up (e.g., this). Category (2) is the stuff that your drunk uncle gets in his FB feed and rants about over holiday meals. Category (4) is for-entertainment-only stuff, like the late lamented Weekly World News.

Category (1) is Greenwald for most of the last decade. He’s accustomed to being the smartest person in the room (or at least thinking he is) and so he genuinely cannot see how far around the bend he’s gone.


Saying that this one instance isn’t related to Putin isn’t the same thing as defending him.

The world is not black and white. Not every hack is Russian. Not every Russian hack is state sponsored. One infected computer not connected to the power grid is not hacking the power grid. We SHOULD be encouraging reporting that doesn’t push fear mongering or makes broad accusations.

Just like not every time a Muslim does something bad, we shouldn’t automatically assume it is tied directly to Islam or a terror organization. And every time there is a terrorist style attack, we shouldn’t automatically assume there is a direct link to an Islamic Terrorist Org.

While the treatment of the queer community in Russia is deplorable, I don’t think in this instance it has anything to do with what is going on. Piling on Putin at any chance won’t help your cause. It weakens it because some people think your criticism is just you bitching about Putin being anti-gay and ignoring the other things he has done.

I have seen this in Republicans blowing off the Russian hacks because they served to help them, maybe. They see it as sour grapes from the Democrats. They are being stupid and short sighted, but any fake news or exaggeration on this topic will just justify their opinion that the hacks were blown out of proportion.


Sure, I can’t speak for the specific content here.

But even if it was valid you wouldn’t find a lot of current employees willing to go on the record.

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Oh, the trend towards 2 certainly snapped into place quickly over the last year.

It’s no insult to Greenwald or anyone else to say that they’re ideological on purpose. He never claimed to be neutral. I’m just talking about the degree to which he departs from reason, facts, or common sense. THAT he does innocently, if you take my meaning.

In his case, I truly believe he believes every word of it when he declares himself the victim of liberal McCarthyism, and RT free from the influence of the Russian government, and the Russian government to be motivated only by goodwill towards all. He’s not lying, for whatever that’s worth. Lying is exclusively the territory of people who can admit to themselves that they might be wrong about something.


Being wrong in the service of a larger narrative, however, IS fake news. And that’s exactly what Faux News and the like do, point of fact.

The WaPo story WAS fabricated, in fact, and they had to retract it.


You are apparently unaware that the CIA, NSA, and FBI do not agree with each other on the scope or effects of said interference. You can stop presenting it as proven fact now.

Nor am I going to care much about people whining about what the US does every day to other countries.


Yeah this was bad reporting/investigation, not fake news (which is a term that can only impair communication and needs to die).


The WaPo story was a result of someone running to the press with bad information and WP fucking up in investigation. That’s not as rare as it should be, alas. Calling it “fake news” just obfuscates the problem.


Want to know something interesting? Our power grids HAVE been hacked by a foreign entity. It was China.

I once asked:

'What will it take for people to take this computer security and cyberterrorism seriously?"

My first response was, “An effective attack on the power grid by a non-state actor in which important people die.”

I quoted from Shane Harris’ book @War, (page 52-53) What most people don’t know is that our power grid has been hit twice (that we know of) in 2003 and 2008.

But because the entity that appear to be behind it was a State Actor (China) the cases were covered up.

As someone said above, these threats are real. They have happened and we haven’t hardened our system.

Who we go after for the attack is important. It is also important to acknowledge attacks are happening if intend to do something about it.
The people in the know at the power company knew it wasn’t “poorly trimmed trees” but do they then go to the public and say, 'China hacked us and blacked out Northeastern US?"

So the didn’t publicly. What they did was go around and harden grids. But still wasn’t enough, so in 2008 China hit a power grid in Florida. That wasn’t made public because …

I’ve now come to realize that not only will it take a power gird attack where someone dies, but an attack that meet the criteria of who they want to blame for the attack. For things to be changed.

Need an excuse to fix your power grid? Who’s the enemy of the day? Russia!
New an excuse to create an interstate Highway system?
Have long flat stretches so they can double as landing strips for bombers (True story!)

When any agency wanted money they just needed to say, 'National Security or Terrorism and they would get funded. Example, the 1 BILLION dollar nudie scanner that Chertoff bought that NEVER WORKED.


I still can’t agree.

We are currently in a heavily jingoistic period vs. both Russia and China; bullshit news coverage can be actively harmful. If a war breaks out, billions may suffer, people! Even a new cold war would be a heavy drain on the economy, in a period where we REALLY don’t need it.

The WaPo ran a jingoistic, bullshit article and was immediately called on it. That’s “fake news”.

From the first evidence-free claim of “Russian hacking” by HRC’s campaign to now, I’m still waiting for real evidence of this beyond rank insistence. And it isn’t forthcoming.

You can’t steal the methods of Faux News and expect to come out smelling rosy.


I don’t agree with that characterization at all, though that was Greenwald’s misleading / misinformed response to it that took off, taking on its own life as meta-fake news.


Gaining access to a computer that is part of an organization that has connections to the control plane of the Electricity Grid, is a first step in hacking the Electricity Grid.

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I agree with the first part of that statement. This was not fake news. But assholes who shamelessly make up stories like the Pizzagate conspiracy are promulgating lies masquerading as news, so that is fake news.

I’m now realizing yet another unfortunate consequence of our culture’s extremist tendencies. Bad reporting will be called fake news both by the faux-outrage* addicts and the actual fake news trolls for whom it will provide a distraction. The fake news trolls will then point to the branding of bad reporting as fake news as “evidence” that facts don’t matter.

Help us, Giant Meteor. You’re our only hope!

*Bad reporting should be called out and lambasted, but it shouldn’t be mischaracterized ad fake news.