NATO's "News Hero" - #PropagandaWatch

08/01/201826 Comments

In this week's edition of #PropagandaWatch James looks at "The News Hero," the latest fake news Russian bot propaganda scare to emerge from the neo-McCarthyist fever dreams of the NATO Stratcom Centre of Excellence!

The News Hero video


The News Hero game on facebook

The News Hero website

After A Week Online, NATO's Latest 'Counter-Disinfo' Facebook Game Is A Complete Flop

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  1. I Shot Santa says:

    It’s always funny to me when people say that “government is too stupid to pull anything off”, they then counter any argument that we should just get rid of it by saying “it’s too powerful and they would crush you”. When the reality is that these are the kinds of ideas government comes up with on a daily basis.
    I remember after Just Because, we were patrolling the jungles for deserters, and were told to question the natives and ask them really in-depth questions about their political beliefs. These were very tough Indians, who didn’t give a fig about any of your fancy-smancy politics. But you’d best not just walk on up to the top of their hill without permission. Which you weren’t going to get. To the best of my knowledge, no one actually tried to interview them, we just ignored them and they did like-wise. And, we wrote they had no opinions at all. JimBob who still thinks those Indians might just have whupped his butt had he tried anything as the military intel people wanted.

    • calibrator says:

      Every government does stupid things – no doubt about it – but not all the time.
      Of course there are the overpaid and underperforming idiots that only want their comfy job with the state, happily doing repetitive things etc.
      Obviously, there are also all kinds of projects that cost boatloads of money – and money is often pretty much unlimited. The only hindrance is sometimes only getting a signature from your superior.
      And we all know the idiotic programs they do.
      Which often lead only to money being spend with companies that some crony knows…

      But then you have people like Allen Dulles or J. Edgar Hoover.
      Yes, they are government, too, and one of them probably pulled off the murder of the century.

  2. AnimalsArentFood says:

    Just wanted to say that I absolutely love this series. Great idea!

  3. pcwise555 says:

    lobotomies are so 20th century…

  4. calibrator says:

    Are we sure that it was actually programmed in the “Western hemisphere”?
    I mean, if you outsource your torture prisons – why not software, too?
    The would explain the grammar “oddities”…

    In my opinion and experience, games containing such propaganda never really fly, though.

    What works to some degree is limited embedded advertising (gamers usually perceive ads about real products as a step closer to reality) and the general motto “USA = greatest country on Earth, everybody else is either a Nazi, a terrorist or a drug dealer”.
    Obviously, this doesn’t work so well in other countries. In Germany, where I live, such militaristic first-person-shooters are reviewed pretty unfavourably, being called “pathetic” etc. – and sales are often better on futuristic shooters like Doom that carefully avoid such a stance.

    Often, gamers (mostly the 15 to 25 crowd) don’t care much about politics anyway – they only care about how realistically you can kill a virtual person with different “hit zones” for the limbs, torso, head and sometimes even the crotch area. How does a virtual corps perform its death dance? Is the physics engine up to snuff? How do bodies explode etc. etc. you get the point.

    So, generally, I question the effectiveness of such propaganda.

    And by the way there are at least two games featuring the player as news editors to censor some news, advance others and what consequences ensue:

    “The Republica Times”:
    “The Republia Times is a free-to-play indie browser video game created by Lucas Pope, released in April 2012. In the game, the player takes the role of the editor of a newspaper torn between personal opposition to the government and threats to the lives of the editor’s wife and children if the editor doesn’t generate loyalty among the population.”

    “The Westport Independent”:
    “The Westport Independent is a simulation video game developed by Double Zero One Zero and published by Coffee Stain Studios. The game was released digitally for Android, iOS, Linux, Microsoft Windows, and OS X on 21 January 2016.”

    • I Shot Santa says:

      I admit that whole gaming culture just baffles me. I can understand the escapism, even the degree to which I see that; but it’s not a very uplifting and healthy culture from what I’ve seen. Admittedly it’s not real in-depth, but I don’t think it needed it. Gamers seem to be the most thin-skinned people out there. Not like the far left or far right who get triggered; but it’s as if a gamer has an extremely low threshold for stress. The few times I’ve gotten stuck in some gaming thread, you will invariably hear some schumuck start talking about how brutal some “invasion” was and how it was just too much for them emotionally. I’ve talked to people who felt that the zombie apocalypse type game they were playing would be too much for a person if it were in virtual mode. I rarely mention that I’d choose those video games over an actual zombie apocalypse any day, but sometimes I do. I suppose a lot of this is a bleed-over from the personality types one sees a lot of in tech. Those people who like to live in their cubicles because it shuts out all those annoying stresses. You know, like life. JimBob who probably does mention the complete lack of stress he ever gets from pixel games.

      • calibrator says:

        Yeah, gaming is pretty weird sub-culture if one thinks about it.
        But I not only think gamers are pretty thin-skinned – they also are very quick to lash out at people nowadays.

        The modern pasttime of “swatting” somebody is probably the last step of this evolution of aggressiveness…

        • I Shot Santa says:

          I’m guessing they are so immersed in these games is because they already had poor social skills, and instead of developing them like the nerds of old (yep, I had a slide ruler and a pocket protector!), they took the option of hiding in a virtual world. Always strange to me how people choose to be so weak. And that aggressiveness? Needs a bit of passive in front of it. The rise of the beta male from the couch is coming! JimBob who doesn’t even own a chair, much less a couch.

    • HomeRemedySupply says:

      The word “Hero”, as in News Hero.

      What a great propaganda type word to use.
      Certainly the gamers are in tune to “hero”.

      And in China, with the “Social Credit System”, I believe that you get extra points if you perform a heroic act.
      Stephen Colbert (The Late Show – May 2018) talks about ‘hero points’ in China.
      In this French report about the social credit system, it gives an example of a hero.

      My brother who lives in the L.A. area of California is not a social hero. On his utility bills (water and electric), he continually gets a graphic which shows that he is a very poor citizen compared to his neighbors who are using less utilities than he does.

      • calibrator says:

        Good point: The “gamification” of people gets more widespread every minute!

        I, for example, have an electric toothbrush with a small clock-like device for the bathroom wall. When I brush the teeth (or just let the motor of that thing run freely…) for exactly two minutes it will show me a complete smiley face on a small LCD.
        After a certain amount of time (two days or so), it will increasingly lose parts of that face and lose the smile until the motor spins again. Then the smile returns.

        Apparently this is the same kind of program mechanic like in those Tamagotchi toys of the 90ies: The human has to “feed” the “animal” which then simulates well-being, which in turn makes the human feel happy again.
        Of course I tried to see what happens when I don’t use the brush at all for weeks (I used a regular “analog” toothbrush 😉 ): It simply shows a basic face, but it doesn’t fade (“die”).

        Those social credit systems are more or less the same – but with one important additional element: This system is able to punish the humans when they over- or understep the pre-programmed paths.
        My toothbrush appliance can only withhold the LCD smiley from me…

        The last thing I read about the Chinese system is that the Chinese people allegedly “like” this system and try to get the most credit available.
        But these news probably stem from their state-run news agencies and they don’t really report about people unhappy with their leadership…

        For example these 12 million fellas are probably not so happy:

        Also interesting:

        And especially this sentence here:
        “The system will also start applying to international companies that do business in China.”

        I believe James did point out that China is just the first “market” for this and that other countries will follow suit.

        I don’t have the slightest doubt about that.

        And by the way:
        What are the “Karma points” on this website?

        • HomeRemedySupply says:

          calibrator says:
          Those social credit systems are more or less the same – but with one important additional element: This system is able to punish the humans when they over- or understep the pre-programmed paths.
          My toothbrush appliance can only withhold the LCD smiley from me…

          And by the way:
          What are the “Karma points” on this website?

          Honestly, Calibrator, I couldn’t answer the Karma question with accuracy.
          I don’t vote, nor “up” or “down” a comment.

          Personally, I feel that each Corbett member has a decent amount of common sense, along with their own personal interests and tastes. They have the ability to evaluate and judge what is true or valuable or funny from their own independent perspective. In other words, just because something gets lots of upvotes, like a popularity contest in High School, doesn’t necessarily mean it is the path everyone should follow.
          If we are a Corbett Report member, we are all independent thinkers and do-ers.

          • calibrator says:


            > Honestly, Calibrator, I couldn’t answer the Karma question with accuracy.

            It was of course mentioned in humorous way so no worries, please.

            > Personally, I feel that each Corbett member has a decent amount of common sense, along with their own personal interests and tastes.


            > If we are a Corbett Report member, we are all independent thinkers and do-ers.

            Good points! This is what I want to believe, too.
            But it only matters to some extents if The Report becomes “too big”, doesn’t it?

            Here’s what I think will happen then:
            – Paid members of the “PPA” (Pentagon Propaganda Army) will begin to visit this forum. As paid members, of course. It will be only one in the beginning, perhaps two or three later.
            – At first they will observe and file reports.
            – They will likely identify(!) the key users and put them onto their “watch list”. They will get at least an entry into their personal files that officially not exist. Some will probably already have a hard time getting a job with the “gubernmint” (if the would apply for one).
            – They will try to influence the forum by posting nonsense to make people busy, stop them from asking the right questions and keeping things under supervision etc.
            In other words they will try to discredit it by turning it into some kind of Icke-like alien cult or something like that.
            This is the “soft way” and it will fail in this forum, because there are no (or not enough) gullible idiots here.

            As James is unlikely to cave and install a censorship program like Youtube, Twitter & Facebook with their shadowbanning systems things will eventually get nasty (“the hard way”):
            – They will try to make people indict themselves, for example by luring them into making threats (against POTUS, for example). But this only works on an individual basis and likely not in this forum (because we are nice information junkies here and no “gun nuts”).
            – They will attack the site itself & James much more viciously. Remember that it was already attacked by being put onto the “fakes news list” last year(?) – I bet this character assassination attempt was already instigated by some agency (the mainstream media is happily complicit because itself is safe and can eliminate competition this way).
            – They will at some point try to close the site by threatening the service provider etc. – regardless where it is in the Western(!) hemisphere (incl. Japan).

            They can’t (at least for now) do that in Russia and I know of one very “damaging” German site (they leaked police files) that fled to Russia because it got shut down. It was a Germany agency that went after it, though, so it was more of a local problem but as we know there are no local problems for American agencies.
            In any case, James should have a backup plan.

            So only one question remains: *When* is “too big” too big?

            • HomeRemedySupply says:

              I understand.

              On a positive note…
              I have noticed, on occasions, “new members” who presented comments so ‘off-the-wall’ or disruptive that other members called them out.
              Sometimes, this community does a pretty good job of policing itself.

            • pearl says:

              “*When* is “too big” too big?”

              I say the more the merrier. The more genuine voices (as opposed to actual agitators) add their 2 cents, their perspectives, their experiences, the richer we all are for it. Even debates, if they can remain civil and stay on point, are vital. When any vocal member drops off from commenting, even if I’ve never personally engaged them, I can’t help but feel the loss of their absence. Quality not quantity.

  5. sophie.d says:

    James if you ever run out of propaganda to sink your teeth into, may I suggest you turn to the BBC (aka: British Brainwashing Corporation) they provide daily 100% propaganda packaged as “balanced and objective” news to the unsuspecting English speaking public.

  6. KSN says:

    The synthetic voice and incorrect use of English would suggest that this was maybe written by a machine and not edited by a human at all. That may be a good strategy for the future of propaganda as it gives complete deniability. Players of the “game” will provide the feedback (and more) to enable the machine learning that could make this perfectly indistinguishable from reality. Probably very quickly too.

    This is a laughable (for now) UK attempt which is somewhat similar…

  7. Octium says:

    When I get around to playing with Augur, I’ll be willing to bet that you will never run out of propaganda to report on each week…you will wear the letters off your keyboard first.

  8. HomeRemedySupply says:

    On the topic of “PropagandaWatch”…

    This 7 minute video exposing propaganda was released today.
    This gal can sure throw around the ‘F’ word

  9. zyxzevn says:

    We have a new “Solutions”

    Microsoft Rolls Out “Election Defense Technologies”

    Probably will not protect against CIA / NSA, or even
    the Israeli hackers (like on 9/11).

    Homeland is already taking over certain voting infrastructure.
    All your votes belong to them now.

    Homeland is also tracking us:

  10. mkey says:

    We Finally Know What Caused The Collapse Of The Maya Civilization

    SPOILER! It was climate change. Of course, no industry to speak of at the time, but had they introduced a special tax on climate, they would have been surely saved.

  11. wall says:

    Corbett, and others, please critique my video.

    Mass shooting: questions, curiosities, statements and solution

    • wall says:

      And should I even bother to try posting that on youtube? I have a slow internet connection.

      If any of you would like to download it and try loading it to youtube, please go ahead.

  12. Mielia says:

    […] in the minds of men, […]

    Lol Nato and Unesco, what better introduction to the new movie by truthstreammedia.

  13. tunneller says:

    Thanks for giving me a jaundiced laugh this morning. It’s hard to believe this level of crass stupidity is possible. But the envelope of idiocy always seems to go that bit further every year.

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