The “Russian Influence” Story Falls Apart – A New Fairy Tale Is Needed

from Moon of Alabama

The Obama White House and some Democratic officials pressed Facebook to find evidence for alleged “Russian interference” in the U.S. election. When Facebook found none, the pressure increased. Facebook went back, again found nothing and political pressure increase further. Congress threatened to investigate. Senator Warner flew to California and demanded the “right” results. Eventually Facebook gave in:

By early August, Facebook had identified more than 3,000 ads addressing social and political issues that ran in the United States between 2015 and 2017 and that appear to have come from accounts associated with the Internet Research Agency.

All hailed Facebook – finally there was something they could build their anti-Russian campaign on.

It is of course idiotic to believe that 3,000 ads for which some $100,000 was spent over two years would somehow effect a U.S. election. In a U.S. presidential election more than $2 billion is spend on advertising. Facebook’s ad revenue per year is some $27 billion.

Moreover – as it now turns out these 3,000 advertisements which “appeared” to be “associated” with something “Russian” were not anti-Clinton or pro-Trump but were a mix of pro- and contra ads on various social issues:

The batch of more than 3,000 Russian-bought ads that Facebook is preparing to turn over to Congress shows a deep understanding of social divides in American society, with some ads promoting African American rights groups, including Black Lives Matter, and others suggesting that these same groups pose a rising political threat, say people familiar with the covert influence campaign.The Russian campaign — taking advantage of Facebook’s ability to send contrary messages to different groups of users based on their political and demographic characteristics — also sought to sow discord among religious groups. Other ads highlighted support for Democrat Hillary Clinton among Muslim women.

(Note again – there is no evidence that any of the ads were “Russian bought” or part of a “Russian campaign”. Those are mere assertions by the Washington Post authors.)

As we now learn that these ads were not, as earlier assumed, pro-Trump and anti-Clinton, the narrative has to change. Earlier it was claimed that the alleged Russian aim was to get Trump elected. That no longer holds:

“Their aim was to sow chaos,” said Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “In many ­cases, it was more about voter suppression rather than increasing turnout.”

How pro- and anti-Black Lives Matter ads might have suppressed voter turnout will stay Senator Warner’s secret…

[read more here]

7 Responses

  1. scott, i’ve had to deal with a couple of pricks slinging their “mccarthy was right” bullshit lately. considering the recent anti-russian fear-mongering being thrown every which way, i was wondering if you’d like to comment on the communist threat in this country & how it has grown — or has not grown — since the mccarthy days & why. and does it tie in to the current wave of anti-russian sentiment & why?
    i’m not necessarily requesting an article on these themes, but i think it’d be a good topic to explore.

    • Those guys gave been very active on this specific comments section. I wonder why.

    • I view the “McCarthy was right” comments in much the same way as I view the ones saying “radical Islam” is real and must be dealt with and the ones saying “Israel has a right to defend herself” meaning, sure, I could address them and argue with them, but anyone leaving such comments on a website like this one, for whatever reason, isn’t going to be swayed by my discussions with them, so I let em go. It’s like trying to argue with someone outside in the real world whether or not Obama was an “ebil SooooOOooOoocialist”. It’s literally whispering in a hurricane. Whether or not communism or the acceptance of communism is on the rise in this country is beside the point. It would never be allowed. Big Business would pull a Castro and pull down the temple around their own heads before letting Ground Zero of Global Fascism fall to that ideology. They would literally launch nukes at Russia hoping something remained for them to rebuild in the Ayn Rand model before allowing that. Hell, they have already threatened to make OUR economy “scream” if we were to seriously consider single payer (remember what they did the first time the TARP bailout bill FAILED?) They already have their hooks in too deep and the only thing to debate is how slowly the transition Hillary was talking about years ago will be. They will shock and awe us into full on neoliberalism like Haiti and Puerto Rico if they have to, but they prefer the boil frogs approach. So, talking with folks about these things is kinda pointless. Back in the day McCarthyism was at least targeting socialist and real communist leaning (and some card carriers) folks. Now they are talking about Russia Twitter/Facebook influencers doing things like disparaging Killary, Tweeting about fracking, posting about the Fed… stuff like that. Anything contrary to the neoliberal/centrist status quo is now “da damn commies”… even some libertarian ideas for that matter and you don’t get much further from communism than them. So, let em post their revisionist comments. Don’t care. If you want to feed them comments, be my guest. I choose not to.

  2. Flyby comment: The WaPo’s current motto is “Democracy dies in darkness”. Very fitting, but not for the inteded meaning the audience is supposed to derive, rather the opposite. The CIA contracting with Jeff Bezos should know all about that assertion.

  3. Strange how active the literal McCarthyites are on this comments section.

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