The CNN article in question is headlined "Russian bots promote pro-gun messages after Florida school shooting." In their very first paragraph they inform readers what their headline did not, which is that the headlined assertion is nothing more than a claim from a shadowy "monitoring" group.
That group is Hamilton 68, which claims to monitor 600 accounts "linked to Russian influence operation," yet they do not say what accounts they are supposedly tracking and offer absolutely no proof that any of the accounts are "linked" to Russia. No, they just expect people to believe their assertions, which obviously CNN does, as do other MSM groups, even with no ability to "independently verify," their findings, because who needs confirmation if the narrative plays into their agenda?
The group does not disclose which accounts it tracks and CNN has not independently verified its findings.
Why do we refer to Hamilton as a shadowy group? 1) It was created after the 2016 election and its "advisory council," is full of #NeverTrumpers who supported Hillary Clinton and screech about Russia as often as the MSM has over the last year; 2) They offer no justification, proof or transparency for their so-called data and percentages listed; 3) On any given day, Hamilton's claim of top hashtags promoted by Russian-linked accounts that only those at Hamilton know the names of, are the same hashtags that almost everyone on Twitter are using, because that is what hashtags are geared for, getting attention to the message; 4) The background of the 'staff' running the site.
A look at the "staff" of the group that runs the Hamilton site is very enlightening, as the first name on the list is Lauren Rosenberger, who just happened to be the "foreign policy advisor for Hillary for America, where she coordinated development of the campaign’s national security policies, messaging, and strategy."
Nah, she doesn't have any reason to excuse her failure with messaging and strategy helping the candidate that every single liberal media outlet tried to help win, to lose, by blaming it on those nasty Russian bots.
Before that Rosenberger worked for the Obama administration, at the U.S. Department of state and as part of the National Security staff for the White House.
The next name on the list is Jamie Fly, who again worked on a presidential campaign of a candidate Donald Trump knocked out of the primaries to become the GOP nominee. Fly was Marco Rubio's foreign policy advisor.
The next name is David Salvo, who before joining the German Marshall Fund's Alliance for Securing Democracy, which runs the Hamilton 68 website, was a foreign service officer for the U.S. Department of State from 2007 to 2017. His jobs included Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State, Regional Conflicts Advisor, and various other positions.
Last but not least is Brittany Beaulieu, who spent the majority of her career working for Democratic politicians. According to her bio she served on the Europe, Eurasia, and Central Asia team on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee advising Chairman Menendez (D-NJ) and Ranking Member Cardin (D-MD). While on the Committee, she contributed to the Support for the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act of 2014, the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014.
CNN also uses information from another site called "Botcheck.me, which claims to track "political propaganda bots," yet who decides what is "propaganda" vs "opinion?"
They found that not only "gun control," "Nikolas Cruz," "school shooting," "school shooter" and "fake news," topping the political propaganda bots hashtag usage, but so was the leftists favorite hashtags calling for gun reform and gun control.
WHY IS THE MSM ONLY FOCUSING ON 'RUSSIAN' BOTS, ADS AND TROLLS?
Make no mistake, we are not claiming there are no Russian bots, as we have seen the 13 Russians, who will never be extradited to the U.S. to stand trial, have been indicted by Robert Mueller for setting up fake social media accounts, wire fraud, identity theft, are among the charges, but there are a number of pieces missing from the conversation where the mainstream media wants to focus on only Russia's manipulation of social media, while ignoring the fact that everybody was using bots, fake accounts and paid trolls to "manipulate" and "influence" the 2016 election.
According to a report from Freedom on the Net 2017, 30 different countries "deployed some form of manipulation to distort online information, up from 23 the previous year. Paid commentators, trolls, bots, false news sites, and propaganda outlets were among the techniques used by leaders to inflate their popular support and essentially endorse themselves."
Lets us not forget that it was reported in 2011, that the U.S. Central Command (Centcom) has hired a corporation in California to create software that would allow members of the U.S. military to create up to 10 different "fake online personas to influence internet conversations and spread pro-American propaganda."
The discovery that the US military is developing false online personalities – known to users of social media as "sock puppets" – could also encourage other governments, private companies and non-government organisations to do the same.
The Centcom contract stipulates that each fake online persona must have a convincing background, history and supporting details, and that up to 50 US-based controllers should be able to operate false identities from their workstations "without fear of being discovered by sophisticated adversaries".
Centcom spokesman Commander Bill Speaks said: "The technology supports classified blogging activities on foreign-language websites to enable Centcom to counter violent extremist and enemy propaganda outside the US."
Of course at the time it was claimed none of the interventions would be in English because it was unlawful to "address U.S. audiences" with government sponsored propaganda, but in 2013 Barack Obama repealed the propaganda ban, and by the end of 2016, Barack Obama had signed a law which contained the "Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act," creating a de-facto Ministry of Truth, run by "the State Department, but with the active senior level participation of the Department of Defense, USAID, the Broadcasting Board of Governors, the Intelligence Community, and other relevant agencies. The Center will develop, integrate, and synchronize whole-of-government initiatives to expose and counter foreign disinformation operations by our enemies and proactively advance fact-based narratives that support U.S. allies and interests."
Second, the legislation seeks to leverage expertise from outside government to create more adaptive and responsive U.S. strategy options. The legislation establishes a fund to help train local journalists and provide grants and contracts to NGOs, civil society organizations, think tanks, private sector companies, media organizations, and other experts outside the U.S. government with experience in identifying and analyzing the latest trends in foreign government disinformation techniques. This fund will complement and support the Center’s role by integrating capabilities and expertise available outside the U.S. government into the strategy-making process. It will also empower a decentralized network of private sector experts and integrate their expertise into the strategy-making process.
Liberals, the media (yes, I know, redundant) and Democratis politicians are only focused on the "Russians!" yet many countries, including the U.S. have the same type of set-up to push propaganda, and in fact, the U.S. has "meddled" in other countries elections and affairs, far more than any other country in the world.
Amazingly, as Laura Ingraham was recently told by former CIA director James Woolsey, that when the U.S. interferes in other countries elections it is "for a very good cause." (His quote can be heard towards the end of the video clip below)
A "good cause" for who? In other words if the U.S. meddles to promote what the leaders believe is something that is best for the U.S., and Russia "meddles" promoting what they think is the best for them, exactly how hypocritical is it to castigate Russia and yet refuse to inform the American people that the U.S. is busy playing the same exact games?
The Russian Embassy took careful note of Woolsey's statement, and tweeted "Former CIA director James Woolsey: "US meddles in foreign elections - but only for a very good cause". Says it all."
WHAT RUSSIA DID NOT BLATANTLY DO
It is also noteworthy to think about the things Russian President Vladimir Putin, or his government officials, did not blatantly do.
Such as send $350,000 taxpayer dollars to a group to "build a voter database, train activists and hire a political consulting firm," to oust Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the 2015 parliamentary elections. Nope, that was Barack Obama, but the mainstream media never screamed about "election meddling.".
Some $350,000 was sent to OneVoice, ostensibly to support the group’s efforts to back Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement negotiations. But OneVoice used the money to build a voter database, train activists and hire a political consulting firm with ties to President Obama’s campaign — all of which set the stage for an anti-Netanyahu campaign, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations said in a bipartisan staff report.
In one stunning finding, the subcommittee said OneVoice even told the State Department’s top diplomat in Jerusalem of its plans in an email, but the official, Consul General Michael Ratney, claims never to have seen them.
A 200-paged report by Conflict Armament Research analyzed more than 40,000 weapons retrieved from ISIS in the past three years, finding cases in which the weapons were originally supplied by the United States, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Libya.
“In summary, evidence collected by [Conflict Armament Research] indicates that the United States has repeatedly diverted EU-manufactured weapons and ammunition to opposition forces in the Syrian conflict,” the report says. “[ISIS] forces rapidly gained custody of significant quantities of this materiel.”
I could go on and on and on about the U.S. "meddling" in the affairs and elections of other countries, but I think the point is made. Everyone "meddles," and while no American wants another country to do so in our elections, neither do other countries want us meddling in theirs.
The bottom line here is even the Mueller indictments against the 13 Russians, states clearly, the Russian's actions did not "affect the outcome" of the election.
FACEBOOK VP DEBUNKS MEDIA NARRATIVE ON RUSSIAN ADS
In an act that may have been career suicide considering the liberal lean of Facebook and their employees, Facebook Vice President of ads Rob Goldman went on a tweet storm on February 16, 2018, taking on the mainstream media and the "narrative" of liberals, Democrats, Robert Mueller, and the media in their assertions of how "bad" those Russian ads were that were shown on Facebook, and how they were geared to "help" Donald Trump.
Goldman's series of tweets, started with "Very excited to see the Mueller indictment today. We shared Russian ads with Congress, Mueller and the American people to help the public understand how the Russians abused our system. Still, there are keys facts about the Russian actions that are still not well understood."
He continued "Most of the coverage of Russian meddling involves their attempt to effect the outcome of the 2016 US election. I have seen all of the Russian ads and I can say very definitively that swaying the election was *NOT* the main goal."
Then he drops a bombshell, while criticizing the MSM for under-reporting the true facts, by saying "The majority of the Russian ad spend happened AFTER the election. We shared that fact, but very few outlets have covered it because it doesn’t align with the main media narrative of Trump and the election." Along with that last tweet he offered a link to an October 2017 Facebook Newsroom article, explaining some key facts about the Russian ads.
Most of the ads appear to focus on divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum, touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights. A number of them appear to encourage people to follow Pages on these issues.
Here are a few other facts about the ads:
• An estimated 10 million people in the US saw the ads. We were able to approximate the number of unique people (“reach”) who saw at least one of these ads, with our best modeling 44% of total ad impressions (number of times ads were displayed) were before the US election on November 8, 2016; 56% were after the election.
• Roughly 25% of the ads were never shown to anyone. That’s because advertising auctions are designed so that ads reach people based on relevance, and certain ads may not reach anyone as a result.
• For 50% of the ads, less than $3 was spent; for 99% of the ads, less than $1,000 was spent.
• About 1% of the ads used a specific type of Custom Audiences targeting to reach people on Facebook who had visited that advertiser’s website or liked the advertiser’s Page — as well as to reach people who are similar to those audiences. None of the ads used another type of Custom Audiences targeting based on personal information such as email addresses. (This bullet added October 3, 2017.)
• Of the more than 3,000 ads that we have shared with Congress, 5% appeared on Instagram. About $6,700 was spent on these ads (This bullet added October 6, 2017.)
Goldman ended his series of tweets by stating "The main goal of the Russian propaganda and misinformation effort is to divide America by using our institutions, like free speech and social media, against us. It has stoked fear and hatred amongst Americans. It is working incredibly well. We are quite divided as a nation."
I would agree that was their purpose, but I wouldn't agree as to it working, because Russia did not need to "stoke fear and hatred amongst Americans," because the mainstream media has done that quite well on their own.
So if sowing discord was Russia's goal, the media has spent the last year handing them everything they wanted, like a gift on a silver platter. President Trump is right, Moscow is probably laughing their a**es off.
The MSM is still pumping out anti-Russia/Anti-Trump stories, admitting they haven't even verified the data contained within, while every new bit of information revealed about Russia's "meddling," these days counters and debunks the "collusion" nonsense they have been pushing upon Americans for the last year.
February Note to Readers - If we make it through March when we start seeing the revenue generated by the new ad network, we may just have a chance to turn big techs' bias back against them and come through this stronger, louder and more powerful, together. February 2018 has been the most brutal month yet due to the censorship we have been battling against this past year, so any extra readers may be able to spare for donations is greatly appreciated. A HUGE thank you to everybody who has already donated - we are almost there!