Screenshot of an author bio on the news site Newsmax for Raphael Badani, a fictitious writer whose work was published by several conservative news outlets.
Screenshot of an author bio on the news site Newsmax for Raphael Badani, a fictitious writer whose work was published by several conservative news outlets.

Report: Conservative news outlets duped into publishing Middle East ‘hot takes’ from fake columnists

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.

Marcy Oster
Marcy Oster

Israel-based JTA correspondent

JTA

Content distributed by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency news service.