Having failed miserably to produce even one single shred of tangible evidence that Trump colluded with Russia to stage a coup in 2016's presidential election, Democrats, rather than simply admit that their entire crusade to prove a false narrative was nothing more than a charade designed to cover up their embarrassing defeat, have decided to shift the narrative to target "pro-Trump websites." You know, because a couple of websites sharing stories over Facebook clearly overshadowed the 24/7 Hillary Clinton cheerleading sessions on CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, Washington Post, New York Times...
Per The Guardian, this convenient shift in the 'Russian hacking' narrative comes just as Trump's former head of digital media has been summoned to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee to answer for his alleged 'sins."
The spread of Russian-made fake news stories aimed at discrediting Hillary Clinton on social media is emerging as an important line of inquiry in multiple investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
Investigators are looking into whether Trump supporters and far-right websites coordinated with Moscow over the release of fake news, including stories implicating Clinton in murder or pedophilia, or paid to boost those stories on Facebook.
The head of the Trump digital camp, Brad Parscale, has reportedly been summoned to appear before the House intelligence committee looking into Moscow’s interference in the 2016 US election. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee carrying out a parallel inquiry, has said that at least 1,000 “paid internet trolls working out of a facility in Russia” were pumping anti-Clinton fake news into social media sites during the campaign.
Ironically, the same investigators digging into the "Trump collusion" narrative admit that similar media campaigns were used during the Democratic primaries in favor of Bernie Sanders. Oddly, however, there has been no organized effort to figure out whether or not Bernie conspired with Putin to destroy Clinton's chances at the White House.
A huge wave of fake news stories originating from eastern Europe began washing over the presidential election months earlier, at the height of the primary campaign. John Mattes, who was helping run the outline campaign for the Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders from San Diego, said it really took off in March 2016.
“In a 30-day period, dozens of full-blown sites appeared overnight, running full level productions posts. It screamed out to me that something strange was going on,” Mattes said. Much of the material was untraceable, but he tracked 40% of the new postings back to eastern Europe.
Four of the Facebook members posting virulent and false stories about Clinton (suggesting, for example, that she had profited personally by arming Islamic State extremists) had the same name, Oliver Mitov. They all had a very small number of Facebook friends, including one which all four had in common. When Mattes tried to friend them and contact them there was no reply.
Many websites producing anti-Clinton fake news were based in Albania and Macedonia. A pro-Sanders Facebook page with nearly 90,000 followers was run by an Albanian IT expert who, when interviewed by the Huffington Post, appeared to speak very little English, although his page consistently published polished English prose.
Of course, it's also extremely unclear how these master media experts, running websites that appeared out of thin air and have since all vanished, manged to only convince voters in Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania to turn out Clinton while failing to sway folks in Colorado, Virginia, New Mexico and Nevada.