"We Primed Ourselves For Discord" - The Dangers Of Exaggerating Russia's Role In The 2016 Election

As we've pointed out time and time again, anybody who has read the Mueller indictment would likely assume that Russian agents were orchestrating a sophisticated psy-op against the American people during the run-up to the 2016 vote - and that their meddling had a demonstrable impact on the outcome.

As if anybody expected the 2016 campaign season to be a placid affair, with two of the most controversial candidates in US electoral history going head-to-head?

Mueller

In today's New York Post, columnist Rich Lowry highlights how exaggerating the impact that the 13 Russians and 3 Russian entities charged by Mueller had on the election risks doing more harm than good. The Post also reported that it couldn’t find any evidence that pro-Trump and anti-Hillary rallies that were purportedly organized by the Russians in New York — not exactly a swing state — in June and July of 2016 had ever taken place.

The Russia campaign was a shockingly cynical violation of our sovereignty. President Trump would do himself and the country a favor by frankly denouncing it.

But the scale of the operation shouldn’t be exaggerated. In the context of a hugely expensive, obsessively covered, impossibly dramatic presidential election, the Russian contribution on social media was piddling and often laughable.

The Russians wanted to boost Trump, but as a Facebook executive noted, most of their spending on Facebook ads came after the election. The larger goal was to sow discord, yet we had already primed ourselves for plenty of that ourselves.

Lowry's column comes at an opportune time. Earlier this week, two interesting stories published this week by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal fleshed out new details of the suspected Putin-linked Russian bots' activities. And in both instances, though the content was salacious, alarmist and crude, almost none of it pertained directly to candidates for American office.

Which reminds us of the fact that Mueller has said there's no proof the Russians had a material impact on the election - though he has unequivocally allowed - even encouraged via the fusillade of leaks out of his office - the unfounded suspicion of unalterable wrongdoing to linger.

First, the New York Times published a story about Russia-linked bots spreading misinformation and hysteria following last week's school shooting in Parkland, Fla.

Any news event - no matter how tragic has become fodder to spread inflammatory messages in what is believed to be a far-reaching Russian disinformation campaign. The disinformation comes in various forms: conspiracy videos on YouTube, fake interest groups on Facebook, and armies of bot accounts that can hijack a topic or discussion on Twitter.

Those automated Twitter accounts have been closely tracked by researchers. Last year, the Alliance for Securing Democracy, in conjunction with the German Marshall Fund, a public policy research group in Washington, created a website that tracks hundreds of Twitter accounts of human users and suspected bots that they have linked to a Russian influence campaign.

That's right: These accounts are meticulously tracked, and, researchers have proven that the vast majority of the content they produce has nothing to do with American politics. They have one trait in common: They are salacious and often include disinformation. But rarely are they political.

Hoax

And, as the Wall Street Journal demonstrates in a deeply researched piece published yesterday, this is not a new strategy. These accounts have been active for years. In citing incidents that have been identified by investigators as coordinated disinformation campaigns, the aim appears more toward impacting markets and spreading hysteria than any expressly political aim.

The story begins with a recounting of how Russian trolls spread a swiftly discredited story about food poisoning being spread by Wal-Mart turkeys. While there's no evidence the hoax impacted the stock, it's easy to imagine that this was it's aim.

WSJ says most of the bots identified by the US government first became active in 2014.

The Journal’s data shows a small number of Russian tweets before 2014, but it was a deadly plane crash that year that brought out the strongest early response. On July 17, 2014, an anti-aircraft missile shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers and crew.

...Some of the false stories spread by the bots were intended to discredit the Ukrainian government...

Russian-linked Twitter users at first tweeted news of the tragedy, but within hours they were raising questions about who was responsible. By the next morning, they had latched onto a hashtag blaming the Ukrainian government: КиевСбилБоинг – Kiev shot down the airliner.

Despite this, Mueller insists that he's still investigating links between the Trump campaign and Russia - though, at this point, it appears that the investigation's primary achievement will be a lengthy prison sentence for former campaign executive Paul Manafort, who has been a long-time target of the FBI, beginning back in the early 2000s, around the time that Mueller's tenure as head of the bureau began.

After all, one shouldn't exaggerate the role Russians played in the election - if only to avoid sowing more partisan fear and division in a system that's already rife with both.

Comments

Brazen Heist Bulgars Thu, 02/22/2018 - 05:47 Permalink

Its called alternative news....alternative to the boring, lame, corrupted mainstream pro-Western circle jerk people call media. If one followed Western media about geopolitics or finance, chances are that you would not know what the fuck was really going on.

The mainstream establishment have sown so many lies, they are starting to trip over them pretty badly, and still have the hubris to blame anybody else for it. When you fall from grace, this is what happens, its only going to get worse. The ego trip necessitates it at this point, for admitting any wrongdoing would amount to "capitulation" to these fuckers. They have no sense of shame nor honour. They are rats.

In reply to by Bulgars

nmewn Brazen Heist Thu, 02/22/2018 - 06:09 Permalink

Alternative, yes. 

But some of what passes for "alternative news" would more rightly belong in a tabloid rag with a screaming headline...

"Tranny Has Elvis' Baby! Proof On Page Seven!"

...it's meant to shock & therefore sell, not enlighten.  

As far as bots (Russian or otherwise) of course they exist, the discerning eye can see them here on ZH in the comment section but they are so ridiculously stupid & amateurish to elevate them with an official indictment to Defcon I is to convey a power/influence upon them that is undeserved.

But I suppose Jim up top is right, some people are stupid ;-)

In reply to by Brazen Heist

Brazen Heist nmewn Thu, 02/22/2018 - 06:16 Permalink

Even reading alternative news, one must exercise common sense and a critical mind. There are always bound to be bouts of fakery, psyops and clickbaiting....and very stupid people. Nobody is 100% immune. 

They should do a social experiment. Get 100 people to read only CNN and 100 people to read only ZH, then take a general knowledge quiz on geopolitics and finance, and tally up the results.

In reply to by nmewn

bombdog Bulgars Thu, 02/22/2018 - 06:58 Permalink

Russian propaganda is just telling the truth. They don't need no propaganda, I mean, if propaganda is what people might conceive of as "lies". That's why this is all such a sorry mess. Clearly Trump wasn't involved with Russia. Clearly Russia has no interest in screwing around with US elections and a huge effort would be required to achieve any results in this domain anyway, even if they wanted to change the result. That doesn't mean Russia isn't interested in US elections, but pretty much everybody is.

Problem I have (and everybody who cares about the rule of law ought to have) is that a bunch of crooks are making a laughing stock of the whole US justice system, right up to the top of the FBI and the previous administration who've used a totally fabricated Russian narrative to cover a host of illegal activities, using all power at their disposal including stoking up their brain-dead support base. Forget about the deep state and the dubious history of the FBI, CIA etc. Most of the nefarious business of this alphabet soup of agencies has been plausibly deniable for a long time, but none of this current shit is plausibly deniable, many of these people have their pants down at their ankles and really really need to go to jail.

Probably this is the culmination of decades of black ops and lies and a much deeper rot in the system, but that's another story.

Anyway, the Russians don't need no propaganda, they just need to sit back and watch America eat itself. Also, try to work around and outmaneuver each crazy foreign policy blunder that America makes.

In reply to by Bulgars

MarsInScorpio VWAndy Thu, 02/22/2018 - 01:55 Permalink

The Bottom Line is simple: The coup d'etat continues unabated.

Why?

Because the GOPe is terrified of calling these criminals, "criminals"  - who are still conducting a vicious, vile, organized, and unrelenting coup d'tetat to overthrow the legitimate government of the United States.

Mueller and his criminal-at-law compatriot Andrew Weissmann, who single-handedly destroyed the lives of 85,000 innocent employees of Arthur Anderson using tactics tossed out by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, are Deep State/Shadow Government desparation in flesh.

Weissmann is a criminal who has a badge, but no guilt, no shame, and no conscience; he is the textbook example of a psychotic sociopath.

In short form, Weissmann is deranged, depraved, and criminally insane. He's a perfect useful psychopath for Mueller, who is the Great Deep State/Shadow Government Hope to keep so many of them - and especially himself - out of prison.

It's easy to be torn about all this; the inner Spirit longs for all of them to die a painful death as did Hitler, Mussolini, and other perverted sub-humans, while the devil on my shoulder whispers, "There are too many of them. This is why G-d allows Satan to periodically wipe the face of the Earth with war, plague, famine, and with Acts of God and man-made disasters such as Fukashima, the bubbling cauldron at Yellow Stone, or the inevitable space rock."

My father would tell me, "People are rotten."

In my youth, I thought him foolish for such things; in my diming years his wisdom is ever more astounding,

 

In reply to by VWAndy

VWAndy MarsInScorpio Thu, 02/22/2018 - 02:11 Permalink

 I just cant seem to see any evidence of their being any good guys in this government. There sure as shit aint any in the family court system. After watching that I gotta say it seems to be SOP. All virtue signalling and 0 real justice. The fbi operates in the same way. Truth, justice and shoot ya in the back.

  Maybe Im just jaded. Or maybe its that government work demands you ditch that whole First Principals thing.

In reply to by MarsInScorpio

OutaTime43 Thu, 02/22/2018 - 01:06 Permalink

Rosenstien allowed Mueller to expand the scope of the investigation away from the original mandate and scope of Russian collusion. He was questioned very vigorously by Gowdy and others in the intelligence community and he squirmed and fidgeted with his binder so many times that it was obvious that the deep state had forced him to play ball.  

He's compromised and needs to be fired by Trump asap. Fire Sessions as well and put Gowdy in as AG. 

Stan Smith Thu, 02/22/2018 - 01:11 Permalink

   All it's really done is wake more people the fuck up.    Our government isnt going to "solve" problems, it's there to make them.

   Talk about "woke".    Whatever.

GreatUncle stant Thu, 02/22/2018 - 08:16 Permalink

I think gaslighting has a place in population control for them anyway but if you abuse it then it blows back.

The blowback is we are all now being programmed to not believe anything any government says or does anymore.

Need to kill the bullshit, that means arrest and jail perps to stop the blowback programming.

After that then it will still take a decade or so to fix the programming model.

The shit being put out now is so surreal ...

In reply to by stant

kralizec dogmete Thu, 02/22/2018 - 08:22 Permalink

I agree...in the sense that if people are too cowardly to fight back and hang all the DeepState assclowns...I too am bored with the subject.

I am also bored with illegal aliens, forced muslim resettlements in our cities, the MFM, debt, NATO, foreign adventures not in the national interest, PC/Diversity/Multi-Culti BS, OWS/BLM/CAIR/NBP/NOI/SPLC/CBC/ACLU/ANTIFA terrorists, DemoNazis, E-GOP cowards, crony capitalists, Hollywood assholes, Indoctrinators, Statist goons, ... ... ...

Mostly I am really tired of not a damn thing being done about any of it...

In reply to by dogmete

lew1024 kralizec Thu, 02/22/2018 - 11:26 Permalink

So do something!

It is time for marches. March. It is time for relentless letter writing and phone calls, pressure on every single organization in our government.

Organize boycotts, or at least do your own.

We have enough power in this country to fix this, but are not using this internet effectively.

Yet.

In reply to by kralizec

beijing expat Thu, 02/22/2018 - 01:32 Permalink

The real Russian medaling was brilliant in that nobody in the power elite  dare point it out.

 

Look at at the facts:  Russia provided the intel for the Dossier , and then passed similar bogus information to British and Dutch intel in the knowledge that it would be exploited by one faction against the other  

 

The result: civil war.

 

since about 2015 it’s been apparent that there is a schism in the American political establishment. If you were a foreign power, how would you exploit it?  

MK ULTRA Alpha beijing expat Thu, 02/22/2018 - 02:35 Permalink

The Russians are whining, whining bad, saying they didn't do anything. And the left wing MSM is down playing it. Does anyone remember when Putin launched the information war?

We don't have all the facts on this case, could the operation be much larger, was the parameters for the data search limited to a set parameter, and those who were behind the Russian operation, Putin's buddy, the owner of the Wagner mercenary group owns the Troll Farms. Could the latest Syrian engagement costing over 100 former Russian army killed and 300 wounded, in an attack on a known US occupied refinery, was it an attempt to send body bags back to the US to support the Wagner propaganda branch of agitprop trolls, fake videos and various disinformation campaigns to use public opinion to force the US out of Syria?

In reply to by beijing expat

otschelnik MK ULTRA Alpha Thu, 02/22/2018 - 03:04 Permalink

If somebody in the US administration bombed Wagner in Syria to punish Evgeni Prigozhin who also owns the the St.Peterburg troll farm, then good for them, but it's doubtful that there's anybody that smart in our See---Eye---Ayyy.

On the otherhand, the Russians play us like a fiddle.  They set a policy goal, analyze the situation, and go for it not hesitating to grease the skids, like using VEB bank, which hired consultant Podesta Group and financed the UraniumOne deal, and funneling Shillary/CGI $3 mil through their consultant APCO Global.  Probably Russians agreed to overpay the UraniumOne shareholders so they can further kickback Bubba + Shillary at the CF. 

Thanks to Wikileaks we found out that our own MSM was colluding with DNC/HRC campaign, orchestrating their own PSYOP (likely with the support of same See-Eye-Ayy / Brennan and sundry deep state)  on the American people, and the Russians jumped in, playing both sides for the detriment of both.  Brilliant. 

In reply to by MK ULTRA Alpha

MK ULTRA Alpha otschelnik Thu, 02/22/2018 - 04:14 Permalink

Both Clapper and Brennan are crying out in pain because they were both at the center of all of this, they must overthrow the Trump administration, it's beyond ideological.  There are too many felonies to list, too many people committed too many felonies to list, and real honest to God treason is what we have here.

Clinton emails provided the Russians with a treasure of intelligence data on State Department operations, then the Russians from another direction, the Russian had a deep mole close to the inner Clinton circle, the group of deep moles were deported before interrogation, this was Clinton's doing, the reward was the Uranium One deal as evidence of the Clinton US Russia reset. The other reward were payoffs to the Clinton Foundation, the payola of the ages.

The deep mole story can be researched, they were real deep cover agents with special training etc. the only reason it was discovered was counter intelligence intercepted communications back to Moscow. Clinton flew them out of the country real quick.

The Russians have been busy.

 

In reply to by otschelnik

bombdog MK ULTRA Alpha Thu, 02/22/2018 - 07:23 Permalink

That's total horse shit. It was easy to get the Clinton emails because she's such a stupid selfish bitch. Seems anyone could have got them. Sure they put some work into the Uranium One deal, but even that looks like pretty easy considering the greed and stupidity of those in office, all you need is to make some donations here and there a fill some suitcases full of money and you get what you want. They can even shut down an FBI investigation if you pay them enough to look the other way. As for a "treasure of intelligence data on State Department operations", what actionable intelligence is actually in there? other than yes, these people are stupid cunts who run the government to enrich themselves and destroy whole nations like Libya for fun and profit.

In reply to by MK ULTRA Alpha

mark1955 beijing expat Thu, 02/22/2018 - 06:51 Permalink

WRONG!!!..."Russian Meddling"?

There was NO Russian meddling in the American electoral system! 

The only Treasonous Meddling in the American electoral system, was the democrats busing in millions of illegals all over the United States to vote illegally in American elections!

If Mueller was one bit serious about the integrity of the American electoral system ( Which he isn't ), then Mueller would be prosecuting democrat operatives for allowing illegal aliens to vote in American elections!

 

 

 

 

In reply to by beijing expat

GreatUncle beijing expat Thu, 02/22/2018 - 08:24 Permalink

For you concept to work you had to have a criminal person who would purchase such a dossier and use it to undermine a free society. Also a corrupt facilitator to obtain it just like Steele.

If both those components did not exist then it was not possible.

Hence HRC and all those involved with purchasing the dossier undermined the so called free society.

The corrupt facilitator knowing what they were doing needs to be put on trial and jailed.

I TELL YOU WHAT NEXT ELECTION CAN I BUY A DODGY DOSSIER SUPPLIED BY SOME MIDDLE PERSON FROM RUSSIA TO UNDERMINE THE ELECTION AND I DO NOT EVEN GO TO JAIL HOW KEWL IS THAT?

Make even more money I create the dossier myself and look for the corruption to get it all rolling!

In reply to by beijing expat

lurker since 2012 Thu, 02/22/2018 - 01:33 Permalink

Some of the false stories spread by the bots were intended to discredit the Ukrainian government...

Russian-linked Twitter users at first tweeted news of the tragedy, but within hours they were raising questions about who was responsible. By the next morning, they had latched onto a hashtag blaming the Ukrainian government: КиевСбилБоинг – Kiev shot down the airliner

**************************************

LET ME GIVE YOU THE FUCKING GOOD OIL UKRAINE DID BRING DOWN MH17

COMPANY MAN BRENNON was in Kiev three months before MH17 crash.  IMP a soft go ahead was given 'They' knew MSMedia would lap it up and blame the Russians.  Isn't the Black fag Prezidonti or one of his BlackHouse spokesmen on the record saying something like his regarding classified satellite photos on the day (you know it was wasn't Russians that's why we won't release satellite photos) ..the satillite photos showed "beer bottles around the site where the missile launched from and soldiers were wearing Ukraine Army clothing." Of note Ukraine had apox 30 Bulk Missiles on ready to go (electronic signature was pick up) Tyler pick up your game MH 17 was a False Flag

Especially like the part that Part when Poroshenko tweeted 10 minutes after explosion that Russia did it!

Zorba's idea Thu, 02/22/2018 - 01:58 Permalink

Yeah, sure. The POTUS should declare from here on, DC is a "No Troll Zone." Ha fuckin hahaha. Viva the Purple revolution. Victory is upon us. Hahahahaha. 

Peter K Thu, 02/22/2018 - 02:21 Permalink

Amazing!

And to find out what really happened, all one has to do is to finally check Hillary's server and look into what happened to Seth Rich.

Monty Python couldn't have imaged this " muh Russia skit"...

gwar5 Thu, 02/22/2018 - 02:35 Permalink

Investigate Uranium One. Investigate Hillary Clinton. Investigate The Clinton Foundation. Investigate the FBI, CIA, and State Dept Roles in the Clinton dossier.

And then lock 'em up all up for a long time. That's not asking for too much.