Russians are filling America's news shortage

Fake news sites spread propaganda while real newspapers die

Close-up of a hand looking at news on a smartphone
The rise of Russian news sites runs headlong into the decline of local news sources
(Image credit: Tero Vesalainen / Getty Images)

When is your local newspaper not your local newspaper? When it's actually a Russian disinformation operation. Many "local" sites have popped up in recent weeks — bearing names like the New York News Daily, the Chicago Chronicle and the Miami Chronicle — that are "meant to mimic actual news organizations to push Kremlin propaganda," said The New York Times. The fake news sites are a "technological leap" in the ongoing campaign to "dupe unsuspecting American readers."

It's not just happening in the United States. The Times report came a few weeks after France discovered a "vast network of Russian disinformation sites" operating in Europe, Le Monde said. The network of nearly 200 sites — called "Portal Kombat" by investigators — is "entirely dedicated to republishing and amplifying pro-Russian propaganda." The good news: "The audience for these sites seems very limited."

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