Conservative News Outlets Were Duped Into Publishing Middle East ‘Hot Takes’ From Fake Columnists, Report Finds

July 8, 2020
WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 19: A tweet from U.S. President Donald Trump is displayed on a monitor during a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill November 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony from Jennifer Williams, adviser to Vice President Mike Pence for European and Russian affairs, and National Security Council Director for European Affairs Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, during the third day of open hearings in the impeachment inquiry against U.S. President Donald Trump, who House Democrats say withheld U.S. military aid for Ukraine in exchange for Ukrainian investigations of his political rivals. (Photo by Jacquelyn Martin – Pool/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Conservative news outlets, including some reporting on the Jewish community, were duped into publishing Middle East “hot takes” from fake columnists, the Daily Beast reported.

The news outlets, including The Jerusalem Post and Jewish News Syndicate, were among 46 publications that published opinion pieces by 19 nonexistent authors originating from a massive Middle East propaganda campaign that appears to have started in July 2019, according to a Daily Beast investigation published Monday.

The Jerusalem Post has removed the one op-ed that it published.

Jonathan Tobin, the editor in chief at JNS, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the news outlet is investigating the six op-eds that it published, “but in the meantime those posts are being removed from our website.”

The purported writers were contributors to two news websites, The Arab Eye and Persia Now, which appear to be linked, and to be fake, including having a nonexistent mailing address, according to the Daily Beast.

The articles praised the United Arab Emirates and called for a more heavy-handed approach to Qatar, Turkey and Iran, according to the report.

Twitter has suspended the accounts of 16 of the fictitious writers in the wake of the Daily Beast investigation.

Did you enjoy this article?
You'll love our roundtable.

Editor's Picks

Latest Articles

More news and opinions than at a
Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.

More news and opinions than at a Shabbat dinner, right in your inbox.