AUDIO: Shady Claims by NYT on Russia-gate: Peter B. Collins interviews Gareth Porter

Gareth Porter discusses with radio host Peter B. Collins his Consortium News article exposing exaggerated claims of Russian skulduggery on Facebook in 2016.

By Peter B. Collins

Journalist and historian Gareth Porter returned to the Peter B. Collins show to discuss his new article, exposing exaggerated claims of Russian skulduggery on Facebook in 2016. Porter’s article was published last week at Consortium News, showing inaccurate claims in the late-September recap of Russia-gate by New York Times reporters Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti.

Both Porter and your humble host consider Shane to be a credible reporter, and credit him with caveats in stories on Russia-gate, including the quote from the September 26 report that these claims “can neither be proven nor disproven.”

We note how many “progressive” media figures, including Thom Hartmann, claim that Mueller’s convictions and plea deals amount to proof of “collusion”, even though Manafort and the others have not been tried on such charges.

Porter explains that the numbers cited by the Times about Facebook are grossly exaggerated, with “potential impressions” being treated as click-throughs.  He notes that Facebook estimates that only 1 out of 10 posts in a news feed are actually read by the user.  When you compare the modest traffic attributed to all Russians, including government actors, it’s infinitesimal compared to the $80 million-plus the Trump campaign spent on dark-targeted Facebook ads.

Porter also looks at the role of Twitter bots in amplifying tweets by the candidates, and argues that the impacts cited by Shane and Mazzetti are not significant. Listen to Peter B. delve deep into the deceptions of Russia-gate with Gareth Porter. Running time 35:14. 

Peter B. Collins, a veteran radio host on the airwaves in the San Francisco Bay Area, is host of the Peter B. Collins Show.

49 comments for “AUDIO: Shady Claims by NYT on Russia-gate: Peter B. Collins interviews Gareth Porter

  1. Dave Parker
    October 21, 2018 at 19:46

    Hooray, great to see Peter B. here! Listener from a few years back. Mostly to Pepe Escobar tbh. And he’s here too, and Caitlyn Johnstone as well!

    Thanks CN.

  2. John Puma
    October 21, 2018 at 15:20

    Anyone else wonder why Cambridge Analytica never became THE focus of 2016 election meddling “investigation”?

    It’s CEO has explained the strategy of, and AND revealed that the Trump campaign paid for, a sophisticated, perhaps successful, social media-based process*** that was everything Rootin’ Tootin’ Putin© (RTP) would like to have employed … IF he had wanted to try to influence the outcome of a US presidential election.

    Jill Stein has also been blamed continually by media for the failure of the HRC campaign for, essentially, having the unmitigated nerve to act as if the USA were a democracy, i.e. running for president — when it was Ms Clinton’s “turn.”

    In one memorable browbeating, Stein pointed out that the media had given Trump the equivalent of several hundred $billions of free coverage, far outweighing any conceivable effect of Stein’s 1.5% of the vote. The media rep rose, like a trout to a perfectly presented fly: “Well, (harumph), the media is NOT Russia!”

    The US media and Cambridge Analytica hardly comprise an exclusive club of institutions apparently entitled to manipulate a US presidential election. Clearly, RTP seems to be the rare, if not sole, exclusion from said club
    *** Including an estimate, per each US voter, of MORE “impressions” (allegedly) needed for desired, meddlesome effect, than that mentioned in the interview.

  3. P Blacque
    October 19, 2018 at 22:50

    Appreciate your detailed analysis in this podcast and previous CN post. However, I wondered why you don’t make any reference to the work of Kathleen Hall Jamieson presented in Jane Mayer’s New Yorker article of October 1, 2018.? (<a href=";)

    Jamieson argues that it was likely that the Russian posts had influenced enough voters (80,000) in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania to have tilted the election towards Trump. If you disagree with her methodology and conclusion, it would be great to know why.

    Thank you.

    • John Kirsch
      October 20, 2018 at 07:44

      The problem with Jamieson’s argument — that it was likely that the Russian posts influenced enough voters in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pa. to tilt the election toward Trump — can’t be proven.

      • John Kirsch
        October 20, 2018 at 11:03

        Russiagaters cite Jamieson’s argument — that it was likely that the Russian posts influenced enough voters in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pa. to tilt the election toward Trump — because it can’t be proven or disproven. It dwells in the realm of speculation, not fact, making it a perfect fit for the conspiratorial mindset.

        • Andrew Dabrowski
          October 20, 2018 at 14:01

          I’m guessing you also supported Kavanaugh for the SC?

          • Brian
            October 26, 2018 at 05:09

            Thanks for proving the point with your ad hominem BS.

    • Eric32
      October 20, 2018 at 09:33

      Hillary and her operatives want tiny possibly non-existent things magnified, and large wide spread things ignored, in explaining her loss to Trump.
      (And, of course, her actual unethical manipulation in getting the nomination from Sanders should be totally ignored.)

      Trump voters were typically older conservative people who were concerned about the de-industrialization of the US and the associated wrecking of the American middle class.

      They typically don’t spend a lot of time on peering at Facebook ads on smart phones.

      If you want to look at propaganda in the 2016 election which had an actual effect on voters, look at American media propaganda which a large percentage of the US voting population did see, and which was bizarrely biased against Trump.

      Hillary had the FBI helping her, she had western intelligence agencies helping her, she had western media amplifying and repeating anti-Trump propaganda memes over and over, and we’re supposed to think that a click farm in Russia posting a minor number of politically ambiguous ads on Facebook was a weighty factor in the 2016 Presidential election?

      Hillary is desperate and so is the fake info media which is trying to re-gain control of what Americans see and think by censoring Youtube, Twitter, etc.

    • October 22, 2018 at 06:48

      One of the problems with Jamieson’s analysis is she buys into the assumption because the Russian ads targeted divisive issues such as race, this was a pro-Trump campaign or had a pro-Trump affect.

      Does discussing identity politics make you more likely to vote for Trump or Clinton? Does seeing an ad for Black Lives Matter or a gay pride parade?

      Because the Russian ads were based in identity issues, I believe it is wrong to assume these ads were intended to or did help either candidate over the other.

      Even the assumption these ads caused division amongst Americans is problematic. We’ve already done that to ourselves. Why would a handful of ads make a difference?

      • Erelis
        October 23, 2018 at 00:53

        Listen at 7:42. Your link has no mention of Hartman which was my main point.

    • October 22, 2018 at 16:46

      Another of the big assumptions Kathleen Jamieson makes is that the Russians hacked the DNC and released their information to WikiLeaks.

      This is problematic for many reasons. One is this VIPS memo which shows the information was leaked:

      Another is Craig Murray says he knows who gave the information to Wikileaks and it was not Russia:

      Another is the question did the “leaking” cause people to bail on Hillary Clinton? The security breach at the DNC (be it a leak or a hack?)

      Or did the information contained therein cause people not to vote for Hillary. After all, they exposed Clinton buying the DNC and rigging the primary election so Bernie Sanders could not win.

      Millions of people (including yours truly) refuse to ever vote for Hillary Clinton due to her rigging the election. Is that the Russians’s fault? They didn’t rig the election. Hillary Clinton did.

      In short, I have gone through much of Jamieson’s claims. You can see me challenge these claims over and over here:

      None of them hold water under scrutiny. She retains all the assumptions made by the NYTimes and Washington Post and MSNBC and so on, assumptions which have been debunked or for which there is no evidence.

      Therefore, all the number crunching in the world done by Jamieson is useless when faced with such counter evidence, her house crumbles.

  4. Erelis
    October 19, 2018 at 19:28

    Great interview. But as a side note, I was disappointed to hear that Thom Hartmann is a proponent of the Russian conspiracy. It has truly amazed me how liberal and left vocies have done this, abandoning even modest of amounts of skepticism and reason. It is not as Chomsky said, oh yah, he is sure Russians tried, but is was very minor and to absolutely no avail (which is what Obama claimed in later Nov. after the election).

    I can only speculate that the Russian hysterial has become so toxic, that sites and pundits such as Thom Hartmann realize consciously or unconsciously that expressing the skepticism would reduce and hurt their audience ratings/numbers. Having listening to Thom many times and his call ins, his audience is basically liberals tied strongly emotionally and intellectually to the democratic party. Pushing Russiagate is really a business decision at this point.

    And to this point, kudso the braverly of Collins and Porter.

    • October 22, 2018 at 08:43

      Where do you get the feeling Thom Hartmann is convinced of the Russian conspiracy from?

      Here is a piece Hartmann wrote which considers 3 possibilities, none of which are mutually exclusive. He concludes the most likely of the 3 is Donald Trump is the king of bankruptcy, up to his eyeballs in debt to Russian creditors, rather than Putin having “pee tapes” and all the manufactured drama.

      I agree with him.

  5. Andrew Dabrowski
    October 19, 2018 at 16:48

    I don’t understand why Russia is the focal point of almost all stories at CN. Even if all Porter and McGovern say about it is true, it’s still a minor issue in the present scheme of things.

    On the other hand, if what they say is false…

      October 19, 2018 at 17:46

      This is simply not true. Only three out of 21 stories now on our front page are about Russia, and only 11 out of our last 85 stories are about Russia.

      • Andrew Dabrowski
        October 20, 2018 at 14:08

        Fair enough. Still, by your own admission 11/85 = 13% of your recent posts are about Russia. Isn’t that high by any objective standard?

    • Erelis
      October 19, 2018 at 19:10

      The hysteria over Russia is NOT a minor issue. So-called Russian meddling, etc. is the reason that is propelling censorship by the major social media because of “fake news” (orignally blamed on Russians) over anti-war sites and sites dedicated to police brutality. Russian hysteria is the mother and father of social media censorship. It is the reason for BILLIONS added to the US defense budget, which would include NATO. It is the reason that now Sweden has re-started mandatory military conscription of all things. We see the Univerisity of Iowa, heavily funded by Mansanto, come out with all things claims that Russia is behind anti-GMO movements. In 2016 the NYTimes, before the election, had an a so-called article blaming Putin for instigating anti-TPP protests.

    • robjira
      October 19, 2018 at 22:28

      A minor issue…?
      Anything involving the potential for a thermonuclear exchange is hardly a “minor issue.”

      • Andrew Dabrowski
        October 20, 2018 at 14:11

        I don’t buy this, I think it displays a mindset as much in thrall to the cold-war as you accuse your opponents of. Plutocrats now understand that they can make much more money through peace than war, as long as they’re willing to turn a blind eye to things like false-flag apartment bombings and assassinations of journalists.

        • robjira
          October 21, 2018 at 12:18

          Collect your per-post pay, then. Based upon the pattern established by your repetition of the ruling establishment narrative (it’s almost like a provided template is being used, replete with catch-phrases, buzz-words, and dog whistles) it is you who demonstrates enthrallment to a lowest common denominator mindset, that myopically brings the world closer to igniting a conflict from which it may never recover.
          Congratulations, and don’t forget to dutifully file your tax return to your Lords of Capital.

      • October 22, 2018 at 08:46

        Donald Trump is a monkey with a hand grenade. We’ll be lucky if future generations of human beings are around to remember his incompetence.

    • Crusader Rabbit
      October 20, 2018 at 02:16

      Robert Parry?s stories on Russia-Gate were what first attracted me to Consortium News, right at the time when the DNC was creating a massive redirect, so that nobody would actually read Clinton?s emails or think about the implications of what they contained. Like Iran Contra and a few other events, RG is pivitol, simply because it exposes the inner workings of the US power structure, and the complicity of the Democratic Party, the NYT and Wa-Po in maintaining a rigged system.

      The issue would be fading by now, except that supposedly progressive news sites continue to buy into the evil Russia / Putin narrative. In fact, here is one today over at Common Dreams. Not only did Putin poison Sergei Skropal, apparently, but has had a slew of opposition leaders and journalists assasinated abroad, including Alexander LItvinenko in 2006 and Michalisin Lesin in 2015. In fact, Putin wrote the playbook for the Saudis. Really?

      • Andrew Dabrowski
        October 20, 2018 at 14:17

        “… so that nobody would actually read Clinton’s emails…”

        I also oppose the Clinton’s from the left. But you can’t let yourself go so far left that you end up supporting Trump.

        “supposedly progressive news sites continue to buy into the evil Russia / Putin narrative”

        You don’t think Putin is evil? What about the Moscow apartment bombings?

        • Crusader Rabbit
          October 23, 2018 at 03:41

          Russia has been the convenient boogeyman for so long now that it is difficult to penetrate the layers of decent to arrive at a convincing reality. It must be comforting to be so very sure of your facts. Chomsky made the comment once that it is not possible to be an expert on more than a handful of issues, and that he relies on the commentaries of those he trusts. If Chomsky or Robert Parry or Veteran Intelligence Professional for Sanity had written about those Moscow apartment bombings, I would give your comment more credence. Chris Hedges would be ok. Paul Street also. The NYT, not so much.

          In the end, Putin?s morality and his actions within Russia should not be used as justifications for US agression, no more than the actions of Hussein or Gaddafi, fabricated or otherwise.

  6. AJ
    October 18, 2018 at 19:18

    video unavailable – was really looking forward to this

  7. jaycee
    October 18, 2018 at 17:56

    A bipartisan letter from the House Foreign Affairs Committee to the President of Ecuador, published yesterday, claims “it is clear that Mr. Assange remains a dangerous criminal and a threat to global security, and he should be brought to justice.” Part of this asserted threat is a propensity to “meddle” in others’ affairs, including “by publicly releasing classified government documents along with confidential materials from individuals connected to our country’s 2016 presidential election.” This assertion, that Wikileaks conspired with the Russian government to elect Trump, is the other facet of this whole nonsensical farce which has led otherwise intelligent people to shut down their critical faculties and tacitly support the continuing outrageous persecution of Assange.

    • Abe
      October 18, 2018 at 18:48

      The pro-Israel Lobby never forgets

    • Abe
      October 18, 2018 at 20:27

      Among its many important disclosures, Wikileaks in 2011 made available a tranche of sensitive cables from the US embassy in Tel Aviv. The cables showed intimate co-operation between US and Israeli intelligence organizations.

      The AIPAC-led pro-Israel Lobby is probably the strongest, best organized and most effective interest lobby network in Washington DC. Among interest groups that lobby on behalf of a foreign government, none ranks higher in contributions to members of Congress than the pro-Israel Lobby.

      Prohibited from making direct political contributions, pro-Israel PACs uses their considerable resources (AIPAC’s annual lobbying budget is $3 million) to link current and aspiring members of Congress with pro-Israel donors. US political candidates and officeholders are encouraged to accept pro-Israel contributions or risk seeing those funds go to their opponents.

      Money from pro-Israel Lobby PACs and individuals dominated the campaigns of US Representatives Eliot L Engel (D – NY) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R – FL), who are now so “particularly disturbed” about Assange.

  8. Abe
    October 18, 2018 at 14:48

    The Russia-gate deception is designed to fuel anti-Russia sentiment as ground is being laid for European deployment, on the borders of Russian territory, of ground-based intermediate-range US nuclear missiles and other destabilizing weapons.

    Italian political scientist Manlio Dinucci examines the threat:

    Ground-based nuclear missiles of intermediate range (between 500 and 5,500 km) were eliminated with the INF Treaty of 1987. But in 2014, the Obama administration accused Russia of having experimented with a cruise missile (# 9M729) whose category was forbidden by the Treaty. Moscow denied that the missile violated the INF Treaty and, in turn, accused Washington of having installed in Poland and Romania launch ramps for interceptor missiles (elements of the “shield”), which could be used to launch cruise missiles bearing nuclear warheads.

    The accusation aimed by Washington at Moscow, which is not supported by any evidence, enabled the USA to launch a plan aimed at once again deploying in Europe ground-based intermediate-range nuclear missiles. The Obama administration had already announced in 2015 that “faced with the violation of the INF Treaty by Russia, the United States are considering the deployment of ground-based missiles in Europe”. This plan was confirmed by the Trump administration – in fiscal year 2018, Congress authorized the financing of a “programme of research and development for a cruise missile which could be launched from a mobile road base”.

    Italy, Germany, Belgium, and Holland, in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, are offering the USA the bases, the pilots and the aircraft for the deployment of the B61-12, the first nuclear bomb in their arsenal with a precision guidance system.

    Europe is once again becoming the front line of the developing US nuclear confrontation with Russia.

    • Abe
      October 18, 2018 at 14:52

      Russia-gate distractions are also perpetuated to divert attention from the reality of Israel’s interference in American electoral politics and U.S. foreign policy.

      Of urgent concern is Trump’s decision to exit the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement on the nuclear program of Iran, which provokes a situation of extreme danger not only for the Middle East.

      To understand the implications of such decision, taken under pressure by Israel that describes the agreement as “the surrender of the West to the axis of evil led by Iran”, we must start from a precise fact: Israel has the Bomb, not Iran.

      In “The Art of War” series for independent Pandora TV, Dinucci examined the threat posed by the Israeli nuclear arsenal

      For over fifty years, Israel has been producing nuclear weapons at the Dimona plant, built with the help mainly of France and the United States. It is not subject to inspections because Israel, the only nuclear power in the Middle East, does not adhere to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Iran signed fifty years ago.

      Dinucci notes that Israeli nuclear forces are integrated into the NATO electronic system, within the framework of the “Individual Cooperation Program” with Israel, a country which, although not a member of the Alliance, has a permanent mission to NATO headquarters in Brussels.

      According to the plan tested in the US-Israel Juniper Cobra 2018 exercise, US and NATO forces would come from Europe (especially from the bases in Italy) to support Israel in a war against Iran.

    • Abe
      October 18, 2018 at 16:39

      The Russia-gate deception operation complicates the diplomatic environment for any re-negotiation of important arms control treaties like the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

      In an October 2, 2018 press briefing, Kay Bailey Hutchison, the US Permanent Representative to NATO, spoke about US preparations to “take out” Russian missiles. Hutchison attempted to clarify her remark with a Tweet stating: “I was not talking about preemptively striking Russia.”

      The Novator 9M729 cruise missile (NATO designation: SSC-8) and other developments are viewed by the Russians as a response to the US withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in 2002, and the US deployment of land-based ballistic missile sites in Romania and Poland.

  9. Brian Setzler
    October 18, 2018 at 14:16

    Outstanding interview. Thanks.

  10. Joe Rogo
    October 18, 2018 at 11:17

    I get “Video unavailable” from your link. I’m listening, however, at this link….

  11. October 18, 2018 at 11:15

    That was indeed a terrific piece by Mr. Porter.

  12. October 18, 2018 at 10:48

    Completely misses the point. It’s not a matter of “unproven claims”.

    There was NO meddling or interference. There was only PROPAGANDA. Russia has been expressing its opinion. THAT’S ALL.

    Mueller declared officially that “disparaging Hillary” is an illegal conspiracy.

    Expressing the wrong opinion is illegal.

    The same thing is happening in other Western countries. Holland arrested Wilders for having the wrong opinion. Macron has arrested both Melenchon and Le Pen for having the wrong opinion. This is a massive CONSPIRACY to criminalize unfashionable opinions. All political opposition to Deepstate is illegal.

  13. October 18, 2018 at 09:34

    The sad truth is HillBillary Clinton chose Donald Trump to run against.

    Jeb Bush was the establishment aristocracy choice. Clintons rigged the Democratic primary so Sanders could not win. Clintons poured gasoline on Trump’s candidacy, telling media outlets to concentrate attention on Trump.

    Both schemes worked. However, then the Clintons could not beat Trump – the monster they helped create – as many Sanders voters bailed on the Democratic party once they learned of her fraud in the primary.

    HillBillary Clinton did this to themselves and to us, the American voters. It’s all there. All of this information was reported in real time.

    After her loss, the Clintons were unable to take responsibility for the tragic comedy they had wrought. After all, they had told everyone Trump is a Nazi.

    So the “alternative facts” of Russiagate were invented and promoted by the establishment. Trump is too stupid to have read a real book on WWII, and like many Americans, probably doesn’t understand what a Nazi actually is. Therefore, pair him with Putin.

    The average American doesn’t understand what Communism is either. So there’s Trump the fake Nazi, and Putin the fake Cold War Communist to take responsibility for the Clintons’ arrogance and stupidity.

    Yes, Donald Trump is a fraud. Yes, Hillary Clinton is a fraud. We the People are the real losers in all of this. The 2016 US presidential election narrative people was not real.

    • christina r garcia
      October 19, 2018 at 00:09

      Hillary Rodham Clinton has credentials. Donald J trump does not. Whether you believe they are one and the same, that is a not good argument. Trump is a teevee personality, HRC is a lifelong politician, but one person of the two cares for others. I am so , sure and secure that DJT cares for me. You know why, because I got my big fat tax cut and I don’t have to care about anyone except me. See, Hillary and others want us to care. In my world Screw that noise, in the words of my favorite first lady mel: I don’t care do u”, I got mine and the rest of you go to hell, you takers, you lazy people, you losers. Get out of my way. MAGA.

      • Mark T
        October 19, 2018 at 15:06

        How about those big fat jobs Christina? I think your devotion to Hillary is hilarious and pathetic. LOOK at her record? Stop listening to the narratives and LOOK at her record!

        The idea that Hilllary cares about you and that others care about each other is ludicrous and simple narrative. Her foundation robbed Haiti and left them in a mess. As SOS, she convinced Obama to tear Libya to shreds and then just walk away? What did they achieve by that? Hillary is a cold-hearted killer who serves her billionaire masters on such a blatant level that it taxes the mind to see somebody like you defend her as some sort of touchy-feely, caring politician. She’s bulldoze your neighborhood tomorrow if George Soros asked.

    • October 22, 2018 at 08:48

      Did you see where the Clintons are going on tour? Do you think Hillary is still trying to convince everyone Trump is not her fault?

  14. Eric32
    October 18, 2018 at 09:17

    Any competent political analyst of US elections knows that the CIA, FBI, big money interests, Israel, Britain, a propagandized media, these are the places to look for US election interference.

    The Russia thing was a propaganda campaign mounted by the Hillary people and their FBI, CIA, British colluders to divert attention from her incompetence and corruption.

    • christina r garcia
      October 19, 2018 at 00:13

      Mrs. Clinton is not the president. Where have you been since nonvember 9 2016?

      • Ray Raven
        October 19, 2018 at 01:58

        Yes, Killary is not el presidente. That’s a good thing for the whole world.
        Both tRumm and Killary are incompetent fools; additionally they each have their own unique attributes – one is a buffoon, the other is pure evil. Pure evil lost.
        Just because someone is a political animal does not mean that they are appropriate for a political position. Actually, blatant political animals are totally unsuitable for political positions, as they allow their biases to rule their political decisions.

      • Eric32
        October 19, 2018 at 09:13

        As your post shows – competence counts in this complicated world.

  15. Sally Snyder
    October 18, 2018 at 07:59

    As shown in this article, in the past, Facebook has actually bragged about its ability to influence the outcome of elections:

    The possibility that social media platforms can be used to engineer elections says a lot about the current state of news literacy in the United States.

Comments are closed.