MOSCOW- Students and professors at Moscow State University’s faculty of journalism announced the launch of Startfake News, which they are calling Russia’s answer to THE Ukraine’s fascist Nazi propaganda site, Stopfake.org (DON’T FOLLOW THAT LINK! ALL LIES! -ed).
The project was the creation of MSU professor of journalism Sergei Trolov. Trolov said he got the idea after seeing Stopfake.org, a project of THE Ukraine’s Kiev Goebbels Academy of Nazi Journalism.
“These Bandera-loving bastards made a site where they attack our journalism just because some of the stories are made up,” Trolov said. “But then it hit me. Two can play at that game. If you can take fake stories and tell the truth, then we can take true stories and make them fake! Checkmate!”
Trolov offered to show RIYF some examples of the stories Startfake has produced. Whereas the Ukrainian Nazi site “debunks” fake stories, Startfake “bunks” them.
“Look at this story about Obama having a meeting with French president Hollande,” Trolov says, showing our correspondent the article on his gold iPhone 6. “They were talking exclusively about Syria and nothing else. But I have 50 journalism students working 12-hour shifts for 30,000 rubles a month. One of them will take this story and change it so that the topic of Obama and Hollande’s discussion was about recognizing Crimea as Russian territory and inviting Poland to retake its ancestral lands in Western Ukraine!”
The project doesn’t end with text, however. Professor Trolov told our correspondent how he developed a much faster way of producing fake photographs as well.
“In the past someone would use Photoshop to, let’s say, make it look like Ukrainian soldiers carry Nazi flags. It takes a lot of time and skill, and these pictures always get busted anyway. So that being the case I asked myself why not just use MSPaint?”
Trolov is confident that the sheer volume of fake stories and pictures flowing out of Startfake will easily overwhelm the smaller, less well-funded Stopfake. When asked if he felt any ethical qualms about deliberately distorting news stories and fabricating pictures, Trolov simply shook his head.
“This is an information war, my friend. What matters is the perception of truth. Perception.”