Blaming Russia For The Internet 'Sewer'

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Robert Parry via,

As the Russia-gate hysteria spirals down from the implausible to the absurd, almost every bad thing is blamed on the Russians, even how they turned the previously pristine Internet into a 'sewer'...

With the U.S. government offering tens of millions of dollars to combat Russian “propaganda and disinformation,” it’s perhaps not surprising that we see “researchers” such as Jonathan Albright of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University making the absurd accusation that the Russians have “basically turned [the Internet] into a sewer.”

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier outside the Kremlin wall in Moscow, Dec. 6, 2016. (Photo by Robert Parry)

I’ve been operating on the Internet since 1995 and I can assure you that the Internet has always been “a sewer” - in that it has been home to crazy conspiracy theories, ugly personal insults, click-bait tabloid “news,” and pretty much every vile prejudice you can think of. Whatever some Russians may or may not have done in buying $100,000 in ads on Facebook (compared to its $27 billion in annual revenue) or opening 201 Twitter accounts (out of Twitter’s 328 million monthly users), the Russians are not responsible for the sewage coursing through the Internet.

Americans, Europeans, Asians, Africans and pretty much every other segment of the world’s population didn’t need Russian help to turn the Internet into an informational “sewer.” But, of course, fairness and proportionality have no place in today’s Russia-gate frenzy.

After all, your “non-governmental organization” or your scholarly “think tank” is not likely to get a piece of the $160 million that the U.S. government authorized last December to counter primarily Russian “propaganda and disinformation” if you explain that the Russians are at most responsible for a tiny trickle of “sewage” compared to the vast rivers of “sewage” coming from many other sources.

If you put the Russia-gate controversy in context, you also are not likely to have your “research” cited by The Washington Post as Albright did on Thursday because he supposedly found some links at the home-décor/fashion site Pinterest to a few articles that derived from a few of the 470 Facebook accounts and pages that Facebook suspects of having a link to Russia and shut them down. (To put that 470 number into perspective, Facebook has about two billion monthly users.)

Albright’s full quote about the Russians allegedly exploiting various social media platforms on the Internet was: “They’ve gone to every possible medium and basically turned it into a sewer.”

But let’s look at the facts. According to Facebook, the suspected “Russian-linked” accounts purchased $100,000 in ads from 2015 to 2017 (compared to Facebook’s annual revenue of about $27 billion), with only 44 percent of those ads appearing before the 2016 election and many having little or nothing to do with politics, which is curious if the Kremlin’s goal was to help elect Donald Trump and defeat Hillary Clinton.

Even former Clinton political strategist Mark Penn has acknowledged the absurdity of thinking that such piddling amounts could have any impact on a $2.4 billion presidential campaign, plus all the billions of dollars worth of free-media attention to the conventions, debates, etc. Based on what’s known about the Facebook ads, Penn calculated that “the actual electioneering [in battleground states] amounts to about $6,500.”

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Monday, Penn added, “I have 40 years of experience in politics, and this Russian ad buy mostly after the election anyway, simply does not add up to a carefully targeted campaign to move voters. It takes tens of millions of dollars to deliver meaningful messages to the contested portion of the electorate.”

Puppies and Pokemon

And, then there is the curious content. According to The New York Times, one of these “Russian-linked” Facebook groups was dedicated to photos of “adorable puppies.” Of course, the Times tried hard to detect some sinister motive behind the “puppies” page.

The New York Times building in Manhattan. (Photo credit: Robert Parry)

Similarly, CNN went wild over its own “discovery” that one of the “Russian-linked” pages offered Amazon gift cards to people who found “Pokémon Go” sites near scenes where police shot unarmed black men - if you would name the Pokémon after the victims.

“It’s unclear what the people behind the contest hoped to accomplish, though it may have been to remind people living near places where these incidents had taken place of what had happened and to upset or anger them,” CNN mused, adding:


“CNN has not found any evidence that any Pokémon Go users attempted to enter the contest, or whether any of the Amazon Gift Cards that were promised were ever awarded — or, indeed, whether the people who designed the contest ever had any intention of awarding the prizes.”

So, these dastardly Russians are exploiting “adorable puppies” and want to “remind people” about unarmed victims of police violence, clearly a masterful strategy to undermine American democracy or – according to the original Russia-gate narrative – to elect Donald Trump.

A New York Times article on Wednesday acknowledged another inconvenient truth that unintentionally added more perspective to the Russia-gate hysteria.

It turns out that some of the mainstream media’s favorite “fact-checking” organizations are home to Google ads that look like news items and lead readers to phony sites dressed up to resemble People, Vogue or other legitimate content providers.

“None of the stories were true,” the Times reported. “Yet as recently as late last week, they were being promoted with prominent ads served by Google on PolitiFact and Snopes, fact-checking sites created precisely to dispel such falsehoods.”

There is obvious irony in PolitiFact and Snopes profiting off “fake news” by taking money for these Google ads. But this reality also underscores the larger reality that fabricated news articles – whether peddling lies about Melania Trump or a hot new celebrity or outlandish Russian plots – are driven principally by the profit motive.

The Truth About Fake News

Occasionally, the U.S. mainstream media even acknowledges that fact. For instance, last November, The New York Times, which was then flogging the Russia-linked “fake news” theme, ran a relatively responsible article about a leading “fake news” Web site that the Times tracked down. It turned out to be an entrepreneurial effort by an unemployed Georgian student using a Web site in Tbilisi to make some money by promoting pro-Trump stories, whether true or not.

Hillary Clinton at the Code 2017 conference on May 31, 2017

The owner of the Web site, 22-year-old Beqa Latsabidse, said he had initially tried to push stories favorable to Hillary Clinton but that proved unprofitable so he switched to publishing anti-Clinton and pro-Trump articles, including made-up stories. In other words, the Times found no Russian connection.

The Times article on Wednesday revealed the additional problem of  Google ads placed on mainstream Internet sites leading readers to bogus news sites to get clicks and thus advertising dollars. And, it turns out that PolitiFact and Snopes were at least unwittingly profiting off these entrepreneurial ventures by running their ads. Again, there was no claim here of Russian “links.” It was all about good ole American greed.

But the even larger Internet problem is that many “reputable” news sites, such as AOL, lure readers into clicking on some sensationalistic or misleading headline, which takes readers to a story that is often tabloid trash or an extreme exaggeration of what the headline promised.

This reality about the Internet should be the larger context in which the Russia-gate story plays out, the miniscule nature of this Russian “meddling” even if these “suspected … links to Russia” – as the Times initially described the 470 Facebook pages – turn out to be true.

But there are no lucrative grants going to “researchers” who would put the trickle of alleged Russian “sewage” into the context of the vast flow of Internet “sewage” that is even flowing through the esteemed “fact-checking” sites of PolitiFact and Snopes.

There are also higher newspaper sales and better TV ratings if the mainstream media keeps turning up new angles on Russia-gate, even as some of the old ones fall away as inconsequential or meaningless (such as the Senate Intelligence Committee dismissing earlier controversies over Sen. Jeff Sessions’s brief meeting with the Russian ambassador at the Mayflower Hotel and minor changes in the Republican platform).

Saying ‘False’ Is ‘True’

And, there is the issue of who decides what’s true. PolitiFact continues to defend its false claim that Hillary Clinton was speaking the truth when – in referencing leaked Democratic emails last October – she claimed that the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies “have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyberattacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin, and they are designed to influence our election.”

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (right) talks with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, with John Brennan and other national security aides present. (Photo credit: Office of Director of National Intelligence)

That claim was always untrue because a reference to a consensus of the 17 intelligence agencies suggests a National Intelligence Estimate or similar product that seeks the judgments of the entire intelligence community. No NIE or community-wide study was ever done on this topic.

Only later – in January 2017 – did a small subset of the intelligence community, what Director of National Intelligence James Clapper described as “hand-picked” analystsfrom three agencies – the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation – issue an “assessment” blaming the Russians while acknowledging a lack of actual evidence.

In other words, the Jan. 6 “assessment” was comparable to the “stovepiped” intelligence that influenced many of the mistaken judgments of President George W. Bush’s administration. In “stovepiped” intelligence, a selected group of analysts is closeted away and develops judgments without the benefit of other experts who might offer contradictory evidence or question the groupthink.

So, in many ways, Clinton’s statement was the opposite of true both when she said it in 2016 and later in 2017 when she repeated it in direct reference to the Jan. 6 assessment. If PolitiFact really cared about facts, it would have corrected its earlier claim that Clinton was telling the truth, but the fact-checking organization wouldn’t budge — even after The New York Times and The Associated Press ran corrections.

In this context, PolitiFact showed its contempt even for conclusive evidence – testimony from former DNI Clapper (corroborated by former CIA Director John Brennan) that the 17-agency claim was false. Instead, PolitiFact was determined to protect Clinton’s false statement from being described for what it was: false.

Of course, maybe PolitiFact is suffering from the arrogance of its elite status as an arbiter of truth with its position on Google’s First Draft coalition, a collection of mainstream news outlets and fact-checkers which gets to decide what information is true and what is not true — for algorithms that then will exclude or downplay what’s deemed “false.”

So, if PolitiFact says something is true – even if it’s false – it becomes “true.” Thus, it’s perhaps not entirely ironic that PolitiFact would collect money from Google ads placed on its site by advertisers of fake news.

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jamesmmu's picture
They’re Back! It Looks Like The Neocon’s Are Getting Another Chance To Continue “Cauldronizing” The Middle East.

J S Bach's picture

Yeah... the "Russians" are the cause of all of our woes... just as the "Russian Revolution of 1917" was really "Russian".  Ha.  In truth, the "Russians" in both cases are really the same (((creatures))).

JSBach1's picture

This exemplifies perfectly MSM's monomaniacal search for Russian collusion:

Matryoshka (Babushka) dolls

Gaius Frakkin' Baltar's picture

Is everyone here part of the Russian 88th troll division?

Where are we eating tonight anyway?

Ghordius's picture

LOL, good one

of course not. and of course not every turd (read: lie) bobbing around is Russian-polished

but a few persistent ones are. and some... have style, even. it's a craft, remember, and the 6 US megainfobiz just worry about their turd market share, and how it is decreasing

Tarzan's picture

No matter were we eat tonight, the Russia nonsense has even effected salad dressing in America.  When's the last time you saw Russian dressing?  Ha ha, it's red ranch now.  Can't be promoting the Russians ya know.....

All Risk No Reward's picture

Bach, the Mandalay Bay's maintenance guy's (Schuck) story about the beginning of hallway fire irreconcilably CONTRADICTS the "security guard's" (Campos) story about the beginning of hallway fire.

They are COLD BUSTED in their lies.

Schuck's Campos free version... 50s in...

Audio recording sheds new light on Las Vegas shooting

Campos' Schuck free version... 1m 53s in...

Ellen Meets Las Vegas Survivors Jesus Campos and Stephen Schuck

There is NO WAY to reconcile two stories, neither of which mention the other in the hallway, which is the new third lie they are telling today.

JSBach1's picture

Not only that, they both came from opposite ends of the hallway. Then to top it all off Schuck said that he thought the sound was jack-hammering; really?!?! How can one mistake automatic gunfire for jack-hammering?!?!

Both their stories strain credulity...

Check out this map of the hallway on 32nd floor and where they ended up together.

All Risk No Reward's picture

Yes, glad someone else is onto this, too.

It is worse than the Twitter account because Schuck clearly says he was NOT in the middle of the hallway, HE SAYS HE WAS CLOSE TO THE DOOR WHEN SHOTS WERE FIRED.

I'll check on the jack-hammer audio, not sure how that fits in.

Another fakish aspect to all this is that dry wall around a cubby won't protect you from bullets. In other words, HE WASN'T SAFE IN THE CUBBY.

Anybody in that situation wouldn't just go for the cubby, they'd hit the ground and get as low as they could.

But the script writers apparently didn't think it all the way through.

sk0r9y0s's picture

Why the ambiguity Bach?...who are these (((creatures))) you dehumanize?!

BandGap's picture

I'm a conscientious objector to happiness.

VWAndy's picture

 Sociopathetic BS. Blamming others for the shitty stuff they do.


Cabreado's picture

With all due respect, this reads like one of those chaotic, useless, spirited and drunken conversations you might have had at the bar last night.

Arnold's picture

What is this pristine internet they speak of?

Arnold's picture

Am I going to have to cancel my internet service because 99% of it is crap I never watch?

Reaper's picture

Trust in lies feels good.

VWAndy's picture

 This is like working in a crony shop. Everyone wants to take all the credit for everything good. All the stuff that goes bad the same cats try and pin on the ones that actually did the good things.

 Its now SOP all thruout team fiat. Buncha fucktard will get everyone killed.

onmail1's picture

The zewish (that control america)

the kaballah wishes for another holocaust

a nuclear one

if they feel like kings of the world

and Russia is a small country for them

( they count everything in money hah)

then their delusion shall become their nemesis

Jesus cursed them 7 times (woe to you)


Matthew Chapter 23 (King James version) :
[13] But woe unto you, for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
[14] Woe unto you, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
[15] Woe unto you,  hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
[16] Woe unto you, ye blind , which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!
[17] Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?
[18] And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.
[19] Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?
[23] Woe unto you, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
[24] Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
[25] Woe unto you, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
[27] Woe unto you, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
[28] Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
[29] Woe unto you, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,
[30] And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
[31] Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.
[32] Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
[33] Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
[34] Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:
[35] That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
[37] O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
[38] Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

wisehiney's picture

Why does Putin seem more and more a kindred spirit?

And then some?

Note the Rebel Ukranians flag?

85% of everything is distorted by manipulators.

Putin be the absolute least of them.

All Risk No Reward's picture

"The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name."

In an Empire of Lies, everything is not as it seems.

Putin is financed by a BIS central bank, the same central banking system that finances America and every other Western country.

All are oppressed with the debt-based, societal asset stripping BIS monetary systems.

The correct name for the Big Bad is not "Jews."

It is not "Zionists."

It is not "Israel."

All these groups are borrowers. BORROWERS CAN'T BE THE BIG BAD, BY DEFINITION.

The Supranational Money Power Monopolists are the Big Bad.

They sit on top of and control the Mega-Corporate Fascist Global Empire they financed.

The entire system is accurately named as follows:

Supranational Money Power Monopolist Mega-Corporate Fascist Global Empire system.

"The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name."

ChaoKrungThep's picture

Well, if it's in the Bible, must be true. 

All Risk No Reward's picture

>>Well, if it's in the Bible, must be true.<<

"Well, if it is in the Bible and the Money Power Supremacist believe they need to manifest it into reality in order to seize total control of planet earth, then they can finance the Bible narrative into existence. They can MAKE IT COME TRUE."


BTW, the reality I dropped on you works equally well with the existence of a literal Creator God or without the existence of the Creator God.

This is an explanation of the latter possibility...

Caesar's Messiah

wisehiney's picture

Well what the fuck.

If, after all of this fucking tip top American fag wuvy duvy fucking wasted party money,

They can only cum up with cummy lips, 

Like comey cummy asshole fudgepacker from his bosom buddies ivy league hissy fit inspection.

Well then, just slurp it again you nasty little dancers.

YuConCornelius's picture

I agree Russian didn't make the Internet a sewer.

Rather, Russia is a pig farm injecting untreated sewage into a creek. A really big pig farm.

Russian standing in this world has at this point no morally redemming value. What objective"good" does the Russian leadership and apparatus do for anyone, even their own people? All they can do is steal the mineral resources from their own land, try to launder their cash around the world in places which haven't been spoiled by their greed and corruption, and try to corrupt any organizations or governments who would stand in their way.

Best thing to do is start to degrade and disrupt their ability to function as a modern state.

blentus's picture

I am sorry, are you talking about US or someone else?

What is actually scary is that you probably believe in nonsense you just spewed.

And you probably suffer from superiority complex too.

ChaoKrungThep's picture

Back to Sunday school. You missed the bits about dragons and serpents.

sk0r9y0s's picture

So we can use the Times as a source when it fits our narrative?

wisehiney's picture

Tyler, you gotta anticipate this stuff.

If you do some mind bending hot ass Russian Poontang hop up ads.

Just before this story.

I believe that sub concious ly and sublime ily you could attract em just like a bug lite.

You should begin with their tennis and gymnastical playerettes.

Fuck those russian pussyboys!

(that is safe, cold ass norsemen only respond to money)

pawn's picture

I think russia has some pretty good bobsleders ice skaters winter sports.

Sorry_about_Dresden's picture

Considering Russian GDP~ $1.8 trillion is eclipsed by USSA~$18 trillion it quite ridiculous to paint Russia as some great threat to USSA, supposed, democracy. Wake up sheeple! They try and deflect from their own evil deeds.

Volkodav's picture

      GDP is meaningless 

      otherwise, I agree you



Sorry_about_Dresden's picture

GDP is everything considering USSA regards Russia as such a threat.

Why else would USSA feel so threatened??

Russian economic power is minimal, and so their power to make WAR!

How else would you preform a threat analysis?

pawn's picture

Just out of curiosity has any of this come before a judge? Go Pokemon.

ThorAss's picture

Is Russia a city in Israel? Not familiar with it.

medium giraffe's picture

Yeah, it was the Russians, not the Californian porn industry, that turned the internet into a sewer.

Neochrome's picture

Apparently, Russia and the rest of the world discovered Internet in 2016 and that is when it turned into a sewer....

Main reason why MSM and US Sewer Department hate internet is that people can comment and point at all the BS they are force feeding you as "news". Their"beef" with Russian outlets is that it provides an alternative to framing of the issues, and that alternative than can be compared to their own. Wonder why would they be so afraid of comparison...

Twee Surgeon's picture

Russias biggest Impact on the Internet is Car crash videos from dash cam's because the crooked, drunken fuckers can not keep their shit together. They are almost as bad as the Chinese. I don't think the Russians believe that running the world is part of a Good plan' for them. They can hardly get around town for a week without bending something or someone.

Neochrome's picture

Almost as good as US videos of cops shooting people in the back and planting weapons on them...

Twee Surgeon's picture

I haven't seen anyone around here defending US police brutality or police brutality in any of the other Nations that suffer from that disease either. Have you ?

Chinese, Venezuelan, Spanish Police... Philippine Police ? Cuban, Haitian or French ? And your point is ?

Twee Surgeon's picture

3 downvotes, Boo-Hoo. The evidence is clear, see for yourself. All Russian technology is derivative from cultures to their West. Germany, U.K. and the USA. period.

Their Fighters look like American designed fighters of a decade earlier and their legendary Rocket systems are derived from the west's advancements.

Awesome soldiers no doubt and not a people to be messed with at all but they tend to do random crazy shit.

medium giraffe's picture

I've seen quite a few of these Russian dash cam videos, thanks to the power of beer, boredom and YouTube, and yes, they really do drive like shit.  Not all, but many.  Which is why they all have dash cams in the first place.  Some of that shit is just unreal.  And hilarious.

dogismycopilot's picture

you ought to see some of the shit drivers in the Middle East.

I'd post videos, but dash cams are illegal here and they throw you in jail for video taping shitty drivers.

However, UAE law states that taking a photo or video of someone without their consent is illegal as it is invading that person’s privacy.

Twee Surgeon's picture

Russia is pretty new to the Automotive Civilization because of being held back, for most people, by decades of impoverishing communism.

Same deal with the Chinese. They are on the learning curve and the Darwinian radar. They will be great drivers in a decade when they learn the importance of defensive driving and self restraint. I hope. Thousands of years of a certain culture and then inside of a decade, everyone has a car ! A Recipe for You Tube videos if ever there was one.

uhland62's picture

I remember traffic in Athens, Greece, that was a lot worse than what I see from Russia. They all have dash cams because they are new to every Tom, Dick, and Harry driving so the best thing to avoid lengthy debates is camera footage. Yesterday they had series of sinkholes in Russia, also from dashcams, rather amusing. 

There is a propaganda campaign out there against Russia.

They have 2 % of global population so be very afraid, they're gonna eat us other 98%, with dill most likely.

It doesn't take too much to know how to read propaganda. 

ChaoKrungThep's picture

Your ignorance and bigotry will take you far. Away from here, one hopes.

Twee Surgeon's picture

I'm not a biggot, I love Russians. I have worked with and had neighbors who were Russian immgrants to the USA and they are not about taking over the world and they drive like shit, as do you ChaoKrung Thep. If that's your real name.