TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club(YJC)_Gordon MacMillan, whose editorial responsibilities at Twitter extend to Europe, Africa and the Middle East, is also a member of the 77th Brigade with the rank of captain or maybe higher, Middle East Eye reported on Monday.
The unit was established in 2015 to wage “non-lethal” propaganda war on Her Majesty’s enemies, giving the British military “the capability to compete in the war of narratives at the tactical level,” according to Chief of the Defence Staff General Nick Carter.
MacMillan may not be a very good psy-warrior, considering that he basically outed himself by mentioning his involvement with the 77th on LinkedIn, but the fact itself should have been newsworthy.
“If British mainstream media is genuinely interested in conducting public interest journalism, this will lead every newspaper tomorrow and every news bulletin tonight,” Irish journalist Bryan MacDonald tweeted on Monday.
Not surprisingly, that did not happen. Only a handful of outlets have touched the story so far – Financial Times, The Independent and Vice News, in addition to RT and Sputnik.
Media that has reported this story: @ft, @independent, @RT_com, @vicenews, @sputnik, @MiddleEastEye
Outlets which have so far ignored it, according to Google: @guardian, @cnn, @nytimes, @thetimes, @Telegraph, @washingtonpost, @MailOnline, @BBCNews & basically all the rest
— Bryan MacDonald (@27khv) October 1, 2019
Moreover, both the Independent and FT left out some key facts from their reporting, such as the role of the 77th Brigade, or Twitter’s regular purges of “state-backed accounts,” or MacMillan’s interactions with the unit and promotion of its activities, noted Sputnik’s Kit Klarenberg.
“There's also no mention of MacMillan's extremely negative postings about Jeremy Corbyn and Labour – two targets of Integrity Initiative, with which 77th Brigade has a 'close, informal relationship'. Or the Institute for Statecraft's role in creating the unit. Of course,” Klarenberg tweeted, calling it an attempt to control the narrative.
Nothing to see here, move on to the sport section.
Something similar happened in November 2018, when the Integrity Initiative and Institute for Statecraft were exposed as shadowy outfits conducting influence operations on social media on behalf of the UK government, targeting Russia even as London accused Moscow of doing just that. Again, the mainstream media either ignored the story, or reported it in such a fashion to tell the audience there was nothing to see there.