Friday, November 25, 2016

You Need to Know This: Vitally Important News

The flood of Russian fake news on behalf of Trump was truly staggering. The Chicago Tribune has the story here:

Some key passages:

PropOrNot's monitoring report, which was provided to The Washington Post in advance of its public release, identifies more than 200 websites as routine peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season, with combined audiences of at least 15 million Americans. On Facebook, PropOrNot estimates that stories planted or promoted by the disinformation campaign were viewed more than 213 million times...

The final weeks of the campaign featured a heavy dose of stories about supposed election irregularities, allegations of vote-rigging and the potential for Election Day violence should Clinton win, researchers said.
"The way that this propaganda apparatus supported Trump was equivalent to some massive amount of a media buy," said the executive director of PropOrNot, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid being targeted by Russia's legions of skilled hackers. "It was like Russia was running a super PAC for Trump's campaign. . . . It worked."
He and other researchers expressed concern that the U.S. government has few tools for detecting or combating foreign propaganda. They expressed hope that their research detailing the power of Russian propaganda would spur official action.
A former U.S. ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, said he was struck by the overt support that RT and Sputnik expressed for Trump during the campaign, even using the #CrookedHillary hashtag pushed by the candidate.
McFaul said Russian propaganda typically is aimed at weakening opponents and critics. Trump's victory, though reportedly celebrated by Putin and his allies in Moscow, may have been an unexpected benefit of an operation that already had fueled division in the United States. "They don't try to win the argument," said McFaul, now director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. "It's to make everything seem relative. It's kind of an appeal to cynicism."

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