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HomeGlobal Perspective & Critical ResearchRight-Wing Media Outlets Duped by a Middle East Propaganda Campaign

Right-Wing Media Outlets Duped by a Middle East Propaganda Campaign

Author: Adam Rawnsley

Affiliation: Foreign Policy Research Institute

Organization/Publisher: The Daily Beast

Date/Place: July 6, 2020/ USA

Type of Literature: Investigative Article

Word Count: 2000


Keywords: Turkey, Qatar, Iran, Middle East, Fake analyst, Propaganda, Newsmax, Washington Examiner


This investigation exposes fake analysts and journalists who have been engaged to target Turkey, Qatar, and Iran in the international media. These fake experts, around 19 in number, have written more than 90 opinion pieces in 46 different publications since July 2019, eulogizing the UAE with praise while smearing Turkey, Qatar and Iran. Specifically, the opinion pieces of these so-called “experts” called for a “tougher approach” on Qatar, Turkey, Iran and its proxy groups in Iraq and Lebanon. In one piece, they criticized Turkey for its role to back the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya calling it “bad news,” aimed at “constricting the flow of vital energy resources” to Europe, and “driving a wedge between and “dividing NATO.” The investigative article shows how fake profiles have been made on social media for non-existent experts, stealing photos and content from different sources. The author gives details of how the members of this network have used “a mixture of stolen or AI-generated avatars and fake biographies to make them seem more plausible.”  The network behind the fake experts then targeted a range of publications, pushing its articles (critical of Qatar, Turkey, and Iran) in conservative North American outlets including Human Events, Washington Examiner, The Post Millennial, as well as Israeli and Middle Eastern newspapers including The Jerusalem Post and Al Arabiya, and Asian newspapers like the South China Morning Post. However, after revelations about the lack of authenticity of the writers, news websites quietly deleted their pieces. Upon knowing the truth as revealed by The Daily Beast, social media giant Twitter acted swiftly and removed at least 16 accounts of these “experts.” 

By: Riyaz Ul Khaliq, CIGA Non-Resident Research Associate



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