Italian journalist Roberto Vivaldelli was for a long time involved in gathering and analyzing information about military conflicts around the world. His book "Fake news. Manipulation and Propaganda in Media, From the Syrian War to RussiaGate" is primarily focused on the 2011 crisis in Libya, the conflict in Syria and the ongoing scandal around the allegations of Russian meddling in the US presidential election.
"I always try to reach beyond the information framework established by official sources, especially when it comes to conflicts and wars," Vivaldelli told Sputnik Italy.
According to the journalist, a lot of news stories today are distributed or ignored for "purely political reasons."
"As for RussiaGate, the situation has reached absurd levels," he said, stressing that the indictment levelled against former Donald Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort has nothing to do with the alleged Russian meddling in the electoral process.
"Mainstream media have claimed that Russia influenced the outcome of the vote through digital ads on Facebook. The fact that people believe that an election can be influenced by Facebook posts is just improbable," Vivaldelli said.
He also suggested that none of the allegations about Trump’s ties to Russia distributed day by day in US mainstream media has been confirmed and the same approach has already been used for reporting on the situation in Syria.
"There were numerous reports about 'genocide' in Aleppo [during a Russian military operation to liberate the city]. But Raqqa was nearly completely destroyed by the US-led coalition and no one said a word about 'genocide.' Victims are part of any war, but those two situations were interpreted in different ways," Vivaldelli pointed out.
"No one wants to get deeper into the problem. I haven’t seen anyone trying to find out what is really happening. Apparently, there are those in the US who don’t want normalization between Washington and Moscow," Vivaldelli said.
He added that aftershocks of this "hysteria" have also reached European countries, with some Italian media outlets claiming that Russia meddled in the independent referendum in Catalonia or the parliamentary election in Germany.
"It is just desperate if you want to dig out the truth," he said.
Vivaldelli stressed that there was no collusion between Trump and the Russian government and Moscow did not meddle in the election in "the world’s biggest democracy" and in Europe.
The journalist also gave several tips on how to spot fake news and deal with hoax stories.
"I recommend searching for information not only in official sources but in foreign sources as well, not only European ones. For example, when it comes to the North Korean crisis you should also explore Chinese, South Korean or Russia media. It is always important to find an alternative source of information, in order to be able to have the bigger picture and your own vision of the situation. Any media should be looked upon without prejudice, Vivaldelli concluded.