The MSM has finally admitted it was wrong about Russian influence in the 2016 U.S. election, as Gareth Porter made clear for CN way back in 2018.
New York University this week released a study that found “no evidence of a meaningful relationship between exposure to the Russian foreign influence campaign and changes in attitudes, polarization, or voting behavior” in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
In other words, the relatively tiny amount of social media posts from Russia’s Internet Research Agency, many of which came after the election, had zero effect on the election’s outcome.
But that was a major theme of mainstream media’s manic coverage after the election in a failed attempt to pin Donald Trump’s victory on Russian influence. In reporting the NYU study, the MSM has now finally admitted it was wrong.
Consortium News knew that back in 2018. In this article written by Gareth Porter on Nov. 2, 2018, Facebook said 80,000 Russian posts were buried in 33 trillion Facebook offerings over a two-year period further undermining The New York Times‘s case at the time.
By Gareth Porter
Special to Consortium News
Published Nov. 2, 2018
Even more damning evidence has come to light undermining The New York Times‘ assertion in September that Russia used social media to steal the 2016 election for Donald Trump.
The Times‘ claim last month that Russian Facebook posts reached nearly as many Americans as actually voted in the 2016 election exaggerated the significance of those numbers by a factor of hundreds of millions, as revealed by further evidence from Facebook’s own Congressional testimony.
Th further research into an earlier Consortium News article shows that a relatively paltry 80,000 posts from the private Russian company Internet Research Agency (IRA) were engulfed in literally trillions of posts on Facebook over a two-year period before and after the 2016 vote.
That was supposed to have thrown the election, according to the paper of record. In its 10,000-word article on Sept. 20, the Times reported that 126 million out of 137 million American voters were exposed to social media posts on Facebook from IRA that somehow had a hand in delivering Trump the presidency.
The newspaper said: “Even by the vertiginous standards of social media, the reach of their effort was impressive: 2,700 fake Facebook accounts, 80,000 posts, many of them elaborate images with catchy slogans, and an eventual audience of 126 million Americans on Facebook alone.”
The paper argued that 126 million was “not far short of the 137 million people who would vote in the 2016 presidential election.”
But Consortium News, on Oct. 10, debunked that story, pointing out that reporters Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti failed to report several significant caveats and disclaimers from Facebook officers themselves, whose statements make the Times’ claim that Russian election propaganda “reached” 126 million Americans an exercise in misinformation.
The newspaper failed to tell their readers that Facebook account holders in the United States had been “served” 33 trillion Facebook posts during that same period — 413 million times more than the 80,000 posts from the Russian company.
What Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 31, 2017 is a far cry from what the Times claims. “Our best estimate is that approximately 126 million people may have been served one of these [IRA-generated] stories at some time during the two year period,” Stretch said.
Stretch was expressing a theoretical possibility rather than an established fact. He said an estimated 126 million Facebook members might have gotten at least one story from the IRA –- not over the ten week election period, but over 194 weeks during the two years 2015 through 2017—including a full year after the election.
That means only an estimated 29 million FB users may have gotten at least one story in their feed in two years. The 126 million figure is based only on an assumption that they shared it with others, according to Stretch.
Facebook didn’t even claim most of those 80,000 IRA posts were election–related. It offered no data on what proportion of the feeds to those 29 million people were.
In addition, Facebook’s Vice President for News Feed, Adam Moseri, acknowledged in 2016 that FB subscribers actually read only about 10 percent of the stories Facebook puts in their News Feed every day. The means that very few of the IRA stories that actually make it into a subscriber’s news feed on any given day are actually read.
And now, according to the further research, the odds that Americans saw any of these IRA ads—let alone were influenced by them—are even more astronomical. In his Oct. 2017 testimony, Stretch said that from 2015 to 2017, “Americans using Facebook were exposed to, or ‘served,’ a total of over 33 trillion stories in their News Feeds.”
To put the 33 trillion figure over two years in perspective, the 80,000 Russian-origin Facebook posts represented just .0000000024 of total Facebook content in that time.
Shane and Mazzetti did not report the 33 trillion number even though The New York Times’ own coverage of that 2017 Stretch testimony explicitly stated, “Facebook cautioned that the Russia-linked posts represented a minuscule amount of content compared with the billions of posts that flow through users’ News Feeds everyday.”
The Times‘ touting of the bogus 126 million out 137 million voters, while not reporting the 33 trillion figure, should vie in the annals of journalism as one of the most spectacularly misleading uses of statistics of all time.
Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and historian writing on US national security policy. His latest book, Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, was published in February of 2014. Follow him on Twitter: @GarethPorter.
I think this is some great stuff and the number of comments are rousing.
The “ass” face book guys might be number geeks but I’m thinking at the NY Times not so many are. Unless of course it comes to their paychecks.
Digesting the relevance of large numbers is something most people have no aptitude for the same can be said for those same people having any relevant understanding of extremely small numbers. I readily admit wrestling with what some actually signify.
One thing I do know is those who do get it are quick to point our errors in perception. Working with tech companies has turned very adversarial because of the protections they claim over their data. Otherwise greedy platform operators could offer precise data breakdowns for public consumption. But that might endanger their bottom line. Having one’s “facts” data, being suspect doesn’t seem to bother them. Yet! I see no reason this practice of supporting blatantly false data shouldn’t cease. I figure the day will come, hopefully soon enough to benefit mankind.
Nothing to see hear folks you must travel to the Ukraine to see the impact of this bad data usage promoted by the intelligence community through propaganda espoused by their mouth pieces in the MSM. Ukrainian and Russian blood are on their hands because of their mindless efforts to curry favor with the war gods.
Personally, I’m not American.However,as someone who followed what was going on at the time,I didn’t believe that propaganda that was being put out by the MSM.And,I used to reply to President Trump on Twitter at the time that,all that reporting was meant to distract him from doing or serving Americans.
But what I’m wondering is whether ordinary Americans follow or learn anything from this NYU study? If they do,where does it leave their trust in their MSM reporting on such issues? For us outsiders,there’s much to learn from.
Congratulations, Gareth. Your work is outstanding in a world of journalism subverted by peddlers of fiction and bigotry. The New York Times is indeed a disgrace, but is only one of many disgraces among a pack of newspapers that once enjoyed genuine reputations for high-minded work. Over here, the Guardian is now seldom believable on serious matters such as Russia and China. Its chief Russia basher is Luke Harding – one of Julian Assange’s abusers and the author of an infamous ‘scoop’ that Donald Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort visited Assange in the Ecuadorean embassy in London for ‘secret meetings’. Harding’s tour de force, however, is a tome called ‘Collusion’ about Russiagate and Trump’s allegedly sinister ties with the Kremlin. There are ‘secret meetings’ galore. I invite CN readers to read this exchange between Harding and Aaron Mate on the latter’s Real News interview programme. There is a reference to smiley faces that made me laugh out loud and which reduces Russiagate to what it always was: BS
Although it is wisely said that “the truth shall set you free”, unfortunately Americans have been propagandized for so long that the truth can never be recognized by the majority of them. Perhaps, in an odd way, that is not so bad since “the powers that would be” would be so threatened IF that many Americans took to better understanding what has really been going on, they might become even more reckless and create the absolute worst of all possible scenarios.
“Facebook didn’t even claim most of those 80,000 IRA posts were election–related. It offered no data on what proportion of the feeds to those 29 million people were. ”
The IRA FaceBook ads are readily available to anyone willing to search for them on the internet. The vast majority of the ads have nothing to do with the election. Anyone can, with very minimal effort, see that this story is a joke. Unfortunately people want to believe the story so they do believe it, facts be damned.
A new book answers these questions about social media, fake news, and Russiagate for us.
open access here:
Network Propaganda: Manipulation, Disinformation, and Radicalization in American Politics
still pretending here at CN that we don’t know how social media algorithms work?
Those damn evil Rooskies stole our election. The facts be damned!
Thank you Mr Porter
May I state you numbers another way. 80,000 posts by Russians out of a total of 33 trillion posts between 2015 and 2017 amounts to 8 Russian posts per 3.3 Million posts. To be assured of reading one post by the Russian organization, you would have to read over 425,000 posts during that 3 year period. That in turn requires reading over 380 posts each day during those 3 years.
Contrast that minuscule exposure with the readership of an article published by the NYT.
I assume one must be fairly well educated to write for, much less edit the NYT. Therefore the author and his editor must known better.
Every right has a corresponding duty. The NYT is abusing our right to a Free Press
Interesting reasoning. Left tacit are a few important assumptions: that the IRA was the only dog in the show and that algos are so unsophisticated that they distribute propaganda uniformly.
The original Nature article refers to the latter point over and over. You’ll find that the original article is strikingly more conservative in its claims than this one, couching its language not with dismissiveness but calls for skepticism. But then since when do the popular media ever accurately represent what academicians carefully argue in peer-reviewed journals? Since that article came out, echo phenomena have been more thoroughly explored, exploring what questions such as. How do so many people know what’s on Fox News if only 5M watch it? or, How do talking points made in obscure media end up on Fox News or in major Russian media outlets? These are separate phenomena, by the way, with difference mechanisms at work, and go some distance in proving the incompleteness of the Nature paper.
The question: Where are we?
First, they came for the Conspiracy Theorists, and not enough realized the long-term goals of the (star chambered) conspirators. Next, they came for those daring to even speak Truth to Power, and not enough realized the long-term goals of the (star chambered) conspirators. Then, the level of worldwide Controlled Narratives was exposed through the most obvious Pys-Op of a McCarthyite Russian Campaign, and not enough realized the long-term goals of the (star chambered) conspirators. And finally, though just enough (of those who were not blind or awakened) saw that It Was All Coordinated as Staged Lies, the (star chambered) conspirators continued their onslaught, completely emboldened – for the time had come when they could fulfill last steps of those long-term goals.
Obama Confidant’s Spine-Chilling Proposal: (2008) Cass Sunstein Wants the Government to “Cognitively Infiltrate” Anti-Government Groups
Great comment and link. I notice the date of the Glenn Greenwald article is 2010. The NDAA of 2012 did in fact make propagandizing the American people legal. Orwell was very prescient and Cass Sunstein got his ass covered. Anyone who believes anything coming out of the MSM has blinders on. Local news, weather, and sports are still probably mostly true, but that’s about it.
Yes, the Glenn Greenwald article is from 2010 – and, he emphatically referenced/brought to needed light Sunstein’s ominous (2008) written proposal:
“In 2008, while at Harvard Law School, Sunstein co-wrote a truly pernicious paper proposing that the U.S. Government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-‘independent’ advocates to ‘cognitively infiltrate’ online groups and websites – as well as other activist groups – which advocate views that Sunstein deems ‘false conspiracy theories’ about the Government. This would be designed to increase citizens’ faith in government officials and undermine the credibility of conspiracists.”
As far as the update/repeal of the Smith–Mundt Act of 1948 through the Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012, which freed any remaining facades of restraints from Domestic Propaganda being aimed at American Citizens, it may as well have been called the Modernization Acts of “1984″ for 2012 Purposes.
Just had a post wiped out in the middle of writing it. Readers seem inclined to blame it on CN. It is possible, is it not, that someone or something is either playing around for sport or maliciously. Then, again, if they are like me, the writer hit a wrong key. Anyway, Porter makes a great point, that exposure is almost non-existent and the likelihood of influencing the election teeny tiny. Then who says we are only allowed to read domestic propaganda and not whatever we want to read. Final thought, people reading such “propaganda” might then vote for Trump, but most likely predisposed to do so anyway
The contempt these people have for the average American amazes me. It’s as if I am some frail feeble brained person who believes all advertising I see and am always swayed by the message. Even if the Russia ad reach claims are true why would the NYT assume I would automatically believe them. I’m not that stupid or gullible nor are most Americans.
Sadly, you greatly overestimate “most Americans.”
I appreciate these rationally constructed articles by Porter. At the very least if they don’t dispell the claims of a Russian conspiracy, they should elicit a strong does of skepticism over its claims. Aaron Matte in passing called what is happening a “cult”. Well, at this point I would call it a money making cult.
But that is the problem. At this point, rationality, logic, and common sense along with Elvis has left the building.
I would add to the article itself that the cultists would accept the hyper inflated numbers, while at the same time insisting that the Russians cleverly knew the Rust Belt was in play and used pin point targeting of gullible voters who would instantly fall under the sway of a picture of Satan fighting Jesus.
As a side note to a sidce note, I have to wonder why the PR industry is not flocking to Russia to get the secrets of messaging that turned the election results of an entire nation of 300+ million people with budget of $150,000 to creating sure fire ads whose power can not be overcome to make millions in instant profits for their clients.
Katherine Hall Jamieson was making the rounds on TV this past week touting her new book on how the Russians destabilized our precious democracy in 2016. Sad to see a good mind go to waste.
One of the reasons for this change in many cases is professional survival and/or advancement. People, organizations, and sites that do not accept or are skeptical of claims that that Putin/Russians installed Trump are shamed, attacked, censored, marginalized, libeled, smeared to the point some lose access, professional status, and yes money. And the attacks don’t just come from the outer reaches of Hooterville, but from major outlets and voices.
I understand, but her Wikipedia entry starts with:
“Kathleen Hall Jamieson is an American Professor of Communication and the director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. The Annenberg Public Policy Center runs FactCheck, a nonprofit devoted to examining the factual accuracy of U.S. political campaign advertisements.”
She needs to consider other points of view on Russia meddling.
Bart, I had to learn about the CIA’s mass mind control experimentation when I was in licensed therapy recovering from the misfortune of having been born into KKK/evangelical fundamentalism which is a psychopathic system. I learned how easy it ito flip a person. That is what I think has happened to previously sane women within the Democratic party. The CIA simply used wowen’s terror of Trump to create so much fear that they were able to flip them. I’m a historian who recongized form the get-go that Russiagate was a hoax —- not unlike the Cold War. NONE of my highly educated professional Democrat friends can stand me. They literally are repulsed when I try to give them historical facts……. For me, having recovered from cult, this has been extremely frightening.
Just by coincidence I’ve just finished reading this from Caitlin Johnstone. Thought you might like it. You might consider forwarding it to some of your “friends”.
Just how long does CN now leave any comments standing on this board before wiping them clean? Inevitably, every stinking time I post something it is gone by the time I return.
Mr. Lauria, you may think you have a functional discussion board, but you are greatly mistaken. You have created a major problem and point of contention by whomever or whatever controls this board. Try using this device yourself without becoming angry and frustrated. What a waste of my time this has become.
(No, I won’t be surprised if at some random time my post magically reappears, but that is no way to run a railroad… or a news blog. I don’t give a care about your fonts, they are insignificant in comparison to the vanishing act your system imposes on would-be contributors to the discussions. The CIA could not have developed a more perverse mechanism to sabotage the purposes of this board.)
Turns out, it did magically reappear. But revisiting a posted comment should NOT be a hit or miss proposition. How is the current stochastic “mechanism” beneficial to anyone? What does the disappearing act accomplish?
> But revisiting a posted comment should NOT be a hit or miss proposition
Since I do not experience the problems you complain about, I have to conclude that the fault lies somewhere in your method of access to this site.
It is happening to everyone. Joe Lauria has posted that they are having some technical difficulties and are working on it. The comment section has had issues for over 2 weeks now.
They fixed that typo though, just saying…
Appreciate Gareth bulldogging the numbers on this. How soon before there will be a retraction, do you suppose? How many who swallowed the Times’ first big spoonful of mush on this story now will be motivated to possibly change their attitudes toward Russia? Talk about miniscule numbers.
No, the damage is done as soon as the paper publishes and people accord the Times some kind of imprimatur and then base their opinions on what they read in the so-called paper of record. Why? Why do people still do that? As if holding back info just prior to the 2004 election, in collusion with the Bush administration, proving that his administration was lying about violating the FISA law with widespread surveillance never happened; or as if Judith Miller and Michael Gordon spooning out Company lies about the wars and their “justifications” was an aberration.
How many chances do they get on issues of gravest import and survival before the wiser course is to consider the Times, (along with the other members-in- good-standing of CorpNews and PolitiCorp) as a reliable negative barometer whereby whatever it touts as the truth is actually nearly the opposite.
Re: How many chances do they (the NYT) get …”
Well, isn’t it human nature to excuse exaggerations, even outright lies, that support one’s biases? So as long as its readership favors certain viewpoints, i.e., tacitly insists on narratives that support its socio-economic and political biases, which I trust you’ll agree are self-evident, the NYT is unlikely to change.
Also, consider that its reputation as the paper of record exists only among the establishment that it serves. I can’t think of anyone outside that self-proclaimed august group, or, for that matter, that identifies with it, that cares one whit what The Times writes and its establishment myrmidons opine.
For what it’s worth, I think it obvious that its central bias is an American Exceptionalism that fuels Washington’s condescension in foreign affairs. And domestically, it’s but a mouthpiece of the Democratic Party establishment that increasingly relies on controversial identity politics to distract from the fact that the party has abandoned the interests of working- and lower middle-class voters, of which I suspect few are Times subscribers.
Really good numbers Gareth:
The only numbers the duopoly cares about are the percentage of people who believe the propaganda about Russian interference in the election.
Back in March of last year I emailed my democratic senator and ‘wondered’ how many Trump voters had come forward and stated under oath that they had been duped into voting for Trump. There has been an additional 19 months of propaganda in the puppy-dog press and prostitute media. But not one Trump Voter has come forward and said they were duped by Russian propaganda. Given the sustained propaganda onslaught any Trump voters who were duped would know it by now and be complaining to high heaven.
The NYT has the gall to accuse facebook of vertiginous standards. You may suspend your disbelief when reading the NYT on Russia but fasten your seat belt. Your body will feel the vertigo. The media will not will the Herman Goring prize this year as nobody believes their propaganda.
Putting Trump and Russia together is a twofer for the duopoly. Trump beat their arrogant butts in the election and Russia frustrated, if not derailed,
the neocon’s slaughter in Syria and Ukraine.
Put me on the list of people who have trouble reading this font.
I believe there’s a typo in the 8th paragraph. “126,000 million” should be “126,000”.
Thanks for pointing that out. It has been fixed to 126 million.
On this topic, here are some terrific points from Stephen F. Cohen who is professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at New York University and Princeton University and a contributing editor of The Nation:
If Russia Rigs Our Elections, How Come Nobody Is Concerned?
Excellent article; thanks for linking. Aaron Maté is a quality alumnus of DN! (Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Anjali Kamat as well).
Seventh paragraph down you mention ““Our best estimate is that approximately 126,000 million people may have been served one of these [IRA-generated] stories at some time during the two year period,” Stretch said.”
126,000 million = 126 trillion. I’m pretty sure this is a typo and if it is it whacks out the message you’re trying to convey.
Thanks for pointing that out. It has been fixed.
The entire noise and effort around Russia-gate has been just bizarre from the beginning, and that includes all parties who have joined in for various reasons.
It all makes the United States look just plain dumb, but I guess that doesn’t register because there are so many other things going on which make the United States look dumb. A gigantic muscle-bound beach boy strutting around with just the look on his face telling you there’s not much going on in his brain.
Of course, the real foundation of it all is the American establishment’s current aggressive effort all over the planet to reassert its authority, in light of its coming to fully appreciate America’s relative decline in the world.
The establishment is interested in real stuff, of course, like the paid-for coup in Ukraine and the monstrous and threatening efforts by NATO on Russia’s borders and quitting the INF Treaty, but they’ll take anything that comes along which helps sell the line about the dangers of Russia.
Americans in general have not proved themselves very discerning over the years in many such matters – from drunken old McCarthy with his 200 “commies” in the State Department to the Warren Commission total rubbish on the Kennedy assassination – so there seems to be no floor-level for stupidities about Russia.
Russia is hated, and that’s all there is to it, and if you are hated in America, well, pretty much anything goes. You have a galaxy of stars who’ve made their fame and fortune through stupidities and hatreds. Ann Coulter. Rush Limbaugh. Thomas Friedman. Pat Robertson. Franklin Graham. Newt Gingrich. Etc, etc, etc.
It is an innate part of America’s culture of complaint.
It keeps Americans occupied and doing things that keep them emotionally hyped.
Meanwhile, infrastructure all over the country rots, you still have no national health care worth mentioning, poverty and degradation are to be found in a thousand places, racism and various hatreds flourish, and schools in countless places are a shame.
And meanwhile also, we have the genuine interference in other countries’ affairs going on around the clock and on a grand scale. You have a large part of a monstrous and unaccountable agency whose job it is full-time to interfere, bribe, threaten, pay-off, and kill.
But, my God, just let there be a word about some Russian who may have bought a totally inconsequential ad on Facebook, and there will be hell to pay.
See what I mean by ridiculous? And you are, America, ridiculous, and the whole world would be laughing at you if it weren’t for the Pentagon and the CIA and the tyrannies of sanctions and streams of threats.
As for what the New York Times says about this or almost anything else, it is almost a bad joke to quote it or to disagree with it. After all, disagreeing with a publication of that nature should almost be taken for granted. Its record is clear:
Great comments, as always.
There are two big problems with the entire anti-Russian tale. One is that anyone who criticized the Clinton right wing was labelled a “Russian troll” or “Russian bot.” The other is that, in spite of much Dem voter opposition to the Clinton wing, Hillary Clinton did get the most votes. Trump is president because of our electoral college process, an antiquated peculiarity of the US elections system. Think about something: One of the first things Trump did upon taking office was to reinforce economic sanctions against Russia. Since then, the international community has noted his buildup of US/NATO troops near the Russian border, seen by the world as a potential US (Trump) provocation of war against Russia (Putin). Add in the ongoing US media propaganda blitz against Russia. While the Trump administration has been setting the stage for a catastrophic world war, fools ramble on about a Putin/Trump bromance.
All of the surplus Hillary votes were in California, and half of those in Los Angeles. So, if you believe Hollywood and the Harvey Weinsteins should chose the president, go ahead and keep believing that Hillary won the popular vote. California voted 70% for Hillary, with San Francisco voting 85% for Hillary. Those numbers are verifiable.
But most importantly — There is NO POPULAR vote in U.S. Presidential elections. Probably to keep the likes of Hollywood from choosing the president. As important as their wonderfully mindless and sleazy entertainment is to our lives, Im not sure they need to be picking our president as well.
More of the Russian click bait ads were aimed at California than any state; maybe they secretly favored Hillary? Like Hillary the Russians did not understand the importance of battleground states.
And she did very well in cities where there were free concerts by Jay Z, Beyonce, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga Bon Jovi et al; maybe if she had just given EVERYONE in the battleground states $100 so they could pay to go to concerts of their choice, she would have won. Bread and circuses, and bribing voters is pointless if done only in states (the Big Blue states) where she already had the vote by having a (D) after her name.
Are you joking? Blame Hollywood? The so-called president is a celebrity reality TV gameshow host. Ha ha ha!
True enough, Trump benefited from the quirks of American electoral system in 2016, and similar quirks contributed to his loss in 2020. Number one, states deliver electoral votes on winner takes all basis. Number two, each county has its own system of collecting and evaluating the votes, with substantial difficulties and hindrances to various classes of voters. Together, this creates “fog of elections” which Trumpists utilized to propagate gazillion of conspiracy theories of mass vote frauds.
You make excellent points about the electoral college effect and attendant regional American politics trumping the national/world-wide advertising blitzes by all concerned. Functionally, essentially all of this verbiage was American in origin–33 trillion posts versus 80,000? ANYTHING out of Russia was hardly a blip on the radar, not a decisive factor by any means.
Apart from that non-issue, fallaciously ballyhooed as the be-all and end-all by the NYT, WaPo, and the sundry television propagandists, you make the quite valid and pertinent point that both the American government and its “free market” media propagandist mouthpieces have been unashamedly tearing Russia a new one, mostly based on contrived “facts” and narratives, 24/7/365 for the better part of the past decade. This is, of course, justified as a simple consequence of “free speech” under the American Constitution in which anything goes. Caveat emptor. Should you disagree, simply defend yourself and your ideas in the public marketplace of ideas. Can’t afford to buy the media time or newsprint column space? Tough: money is considered speech in the American political arena. You lack $$$? Obviously, you have nothing to say. Neither the American people nor its keepers disagree with the practice of such “hardball” politics, especially when directed at foreign competitors our plutocrats have targeted for elimination one way or another.
But the real ballsy hypocritical twist to living by such a code is the denial of all the same prerogatives to one’s chosen “enemies.” Certainly American foreign policy is going to have a walloping impact on Russian, Iranian and Chinese plans and actions (you know, issues like selling their oil and other products, developing their markets and their trade routes and purchasing essentials like high tech and natural resources, things which we take for granted as only our own business which must remain a totally “free market” for us but can be endlessly sanctioned for others). So, clearly these countries are going to have opinions on the campaign rhetoric being bandied about by the fools running for public office in America, because it may profoundly affect those countries, very often in quite damaging ways.
Yet we demand they hold their tongue and offer absolutely no opinion on the nonsense generated in the practice of American “democracy.” (Even as the American media try mightily to elicit such opinions… mostly from Putin, whom they most want to bash.) Putin, being no dummy, was onto their game and wisely withheld any personal commentary on the warmongers proffered to the American people as their perspective leaders. Anything he might have said was to be labelled “meddling” in America’s sacred “democracy.” He made sure NOT to meddle. Apparently, Washington has a god-given monopoly on meddling in foreign politics. But, no matter, any private Russian individual or employee of one of the Russian media tycoons who dared to post anything–be it positive, negative or irrelevant–about either of the major party candidates was to be tarred as a meddling Putin-bot or troll… and then blamed for Hillary Clinton’s loss of electoral votes in key rust belt states where unemployment was high and Hillary’s campaigning was low, actually downright dismissive of the people and their plight.
Frankly, I would have found it entirely appropriate if Putin HAD made his own public analysis of the American elections wherein Americans could have pored over objective facts, figures, projections and scenarios not emanating entirely from the bullshit factories of the two candidates. After all, American armaments and military bases are so widespread across the globe that every Russian citizen has just as big a stake in who the next American president will be as your second cousin from Oklahoma and in-laws from Tennessee. Now the American powers-that-be want to stifle not only any such third party input into our tetra-annual bullshit bacchanalia, no matter how vanishingly miniscule, but they want to shut up independent sources of American news–organisations like CN and ICH–as well, if these purveyors of ideas don’t conform to the “conventional wisdom” generated by the Times and the Post. It’s just not “prop” if it don’t conform to chosen intel op. Not only can you “not handle the truth,” you’ve no business trying to ascertain what it might be. Orwell sure had things pegged back in 1948, sadly everyone assumed he was simply telling a tale about Russia and circumstances would never change.
Great comment Realist! Nothing like a bit of logic to counter the MSM propaganda narrative.
Actually, Realist, Putin did offer his comment. He said, Presidents come and Presidents go but the policy stays the same.
But he never presumed to tell the American people how to vote, like Obama conspicuously did, for instance, in the case of Brexit. Putin did offer the brief quote you cited in response to American media pressure, which was meant to explain why he was refraining from inserting himself in American politics. He also repeatedly explained that he would have to work with whomever was elected, so no sense poisoning the waters–just Putin being candid and logical as usual.
I’d have liked to see him publicly parse the debates between Clinton and Trump and make clear to the world why both were (and are) dangerous psychopaths. Washington-bots like Merkel, May and Macron know this but dare not speak the truth and persist in allowing their countries to be used as pawns in very destructive international games inimical to their own people. Russia and its leaders are propagandised to death with American false narratives, I mean “free speech.” Putin needs to respond in the so-called “open media” where this hatchet job is ongoing. American presidents do come and go, but someone prove to me that Dick Cheney does not remain fully in charge!
Merkle and Macron are Washington boots. May certainly is not. If anything May is simply a spokesperson for the British elites who have a large stake in making sure Trump never makes good on his campaign promises to end regime change wars and have constructive and peaceful relationship with Russia. Not saying Trump has made much progress in that regard and he has packed his administration with Neocons but if the Russia gate witch Hunt can be defeated perhaps things will change for the better. For all of our sakes let’s hope so.
Jeff, I like what Putin said as well in his follow up to the idiocy running rampant in the US news. He said, ‘if I somehow controlled the election of the President, the House and the Senate became Republican as well. Did I do that too?’
This would take a lot of doing and a lot of impossible clout, but it’s a discussion few are having. But maybe, since the House or the Senate are not doing their job related to American wars, maybe it wasn’t necessary after all?
Realist – Just like reading a great book in literature, I many times reread your comments to have the full effect. I only wish they will print your comments on the front page of NYT, Guardian, and other such mouth pieces of the Empire and the EU Vassal States. Of course I know it will never happen. I often wonder what happened to the Western Civilization in such a short time. Being programmed to this since my teen years long ago, I still can not get over this feeling.
Mostly well said. I do object to calling the result of the 2016 election a fluke of an antiquated system. When I still lived in Missouri they put a legal change on the ballot to allow for concealed carry of firearms, as opposed to simply changing the law in the legislature. The ballot initiative failed. When you looked at the details after the election, the initiative passed in virtually every single county in Missouri except for those counties in the immediate vicinity of St. Louis and Kansas City. So essentially you had the two biggest cities in the state dictating to the rest of the state what the rules were going to be. I recognize that concealed carry is a divisive subject but there are other divisive subjects and the idea that a tiny portion of the state could decide the rules because of a dense population is not a good idea.
Maybe the answer is more “home rule” and not just “states’ rights” throughout the country. Maybe if a city becomes large enough, it ought to qualify as its own “city state.” The NYC metro area alone has more citizens than half the Mountain West put together, as does teeming urban SoCal. In fact, I’ve always thought that many individual cities need federal protection against runaway states’ rights. Likewise, the lifestyles and problems of country folks are often quite different from what goes down in the big cities, your example being right on point. Maybe a lot of the constitution needs to go back to the drawing board, including the major political jurisdictions. Unfortunately, we could all predict that would probably mean even more power and prerogatives for the rich and powerful and even fewer protections for the people. Guess all that will have to wait until after the coming collapse, revolution, civil war or zombie apocalypse.
Hillary Clinton won the popular vote is a counterfactual, relating to or expressing what has not happened or is not the case. It cannot be said Hillary Clinton won the popular vote since the United States did not have a popular vote. To be specific, the United States did not have a national popular vote. The “popular” vote figure is simply an aggregate of an individual state’s popular vote.
Voting conditions change should you have a national popular vote, where all candidates appear on the national ballot (as was not the case for Jill Stein – she was not on the ballot in all 50 states). With a national popular vote, no longer does the argument, can you so and so win the state, apply. You are no longer constrained by winning a state but by winning voters. You no longer have spoiler votes because the 3rd party candidate has just as much chance of winning as either establishment candidates; assuming no vote rigging.
Yes, I believe this is the second day of the New Look ! I am not enthusiastic about it…. and would suggest to management to return to the original style.
All sorts of comments, including all of mine, are gone. What is going on?
The same is happening to all my comments for some time now, just disappeared from the site.
What happened to my post?
Fake post to see what’s going on.
Another fake post so I can see new comments. Geez, I wish they’d fix this thing!
My post about the absurdity of this Russia propaganda idea about Julie Typical is back.
Please Gareth, you must realize that the figures of 33×10^9 versus 88×10^3 are meaningless in themselves. The salient figure figure is the number of views. Without that this piece is just pearl-clutching.
Thank you. It continues to be interesting how the pearl-clutchers exhibit the same cult-like behavior as the president’s acolytes. Both work mighty hard to avoid reality.
Reality as expressed by the NYT and the WaPo? Have some more Kool-Aid, and tune into Rachel while you’re at it.
That’s one way to put it, I suppose. Another would be: To insist that there was no impact on the part of what Russians were doing is to (over)state a case despite the evidence. We can debate how much of an impact, but the sinew-straining efforts to deny it altogether smacks of a conclusion reached in advance, with facts either ignored or intentionally downplayed so as to fit the conclusion. That conclusion, of course, is that “it’s all Hillary’s fault”, and it’s used by Democrats who abstained or voted Stein to evade accountability for their contribution to the 2016 result, or who simply might be nowhere near as progressive as they believe.
I notice you say Russians, instead of the Russian government. Are you trying to say that anyone of Russian dissent should not be allowed to speak freely regarding any topic? I certainly think I should be free to speak on any topic, even Russian politics. Would I be “meddling”? The whole concept is ridiculous. Truth is truth no matter who speaks it. If the evil Vlad himself personally handed the DNC emails to Assange, which he most assuredly didn’t, it is the CONTENT of those emails that matter to the American voter. Even the DNC itself has never claimed that any of the content was a fabrication. The DNC and the RNC are equally evil, and we will never have any change that matters while our choice remains choosing between corporate sponsored warmonger from column A or column B. As a Hillary supporter, you are attempting “self-exculpation” for the many deaths she had a hand in as SoS under Obomber. There is no doubt she would have been responsible for even more death and destruction had she won. Until those who call themselves “progressives” refuse to support the war machine and flee the utterly corrupted Democratic party, the USA will continue to be the heart of the Evil Empire.
“We can debate how much of an impact…” That is exactly what this article does in great detail, yet you and Andrew disparage it as “pearl clutching”. I can’t even understand how that disparagement fits. Please explain. What facts are “ignored or intentionally downplayed”? Please be specific. I am working mighty hard to get you to support your “reality” with a little evidence.
Your conclusion seems to be that none of it is Hillary’s fault, it’s gotta be those evil “Rooskies” trampling our democracy. Present a logical argument supported by evidence as Mr. Porter does. Or are your just here to troll?
Oops again. I’m almost as bad as “Stranger Together” sometimes. Obviously I meant “Russian descent”, not “Russian dissent” in my first reply to GK.
I make that clear in the piece in two different places — pointing to the fact that the figures don’t tell us how often any of those 126 million saw anything from the IRA, and again pointing out that 90 percent of the NewsFeeds aren’t even seen. The citation of the trillions of FB NewsFeeds is clearly to underline how meaningless the Times numbers are.
Climate change and militarism are the two daunting challenges we face and the US is the major impediment in this battle for planetary survival https://canadianviews-ymo.ca/stoltenbergs-brainwashed-europe/
Have we ever been closer to launching nuclear war, US vs. Russia and China? And I wish I didn’t need to note that for a quietly growing chunk of the country, the most daunting issue remains our poverty crisis.
If you get a chance, find one of Daniel Ellsberg’s (Pentagon Papers fame) recent interviews about his new book called “The Doomsday Machine”. During his years as a military analyst he was sent out to investigate the integrity of our nuclear launch plans from top to bottom. What he discovered was that all the safeguards which were written into the rulebooks had been circumvented from the level of the Oval Office all the way down to the guys that turned the keys to launch.
It is harder to read.
The New York Times, the Guardian, BBC, NPR, PBS, and all Western corporate media essentially – have officially taken off the mask of reason that suggests they are somehow beholden to the use of “rational enlightenment based thought, using reason, evidence and argument” – and are now clearly simply “making things up” as they go. So much easier this way I suppose, as long as they can keep their lies straight. Anyone following the Skripnal fiasco in the U.K. and Russiagate here at home can clearly see that “keeping their lies straight” is a difficult task indeed for Western media. What is tragic is how few notice.
Please, please, please do not continue with this typeface. In this case, what is sauce for the logo is NOT sauce for the entire website.
Yes, there certainly appears to be a problem with the CN website. For several days now my comments will post and appear with other recent posts, then disappear until the following day. In a recent post the comment count went from 7 to 11 after my post. It was subsequently reset to 7 upon a refreshing my browser, where the count stayed on all devices for the rest of the day. This behavior is hardly conducive to a lively online discussion!
Thank you Gareth Porter and ConsortiumNews for debunking Shane and Mazzetti’s BS. How sad that for every person who reads this CN piece, there are likely thousands who read Shane and Mazzetti’s piece and swallowed it whole. Sad also that most Clinton Dems seem to prefer to live in a fantasy world where they are victims of Vladimir Putin instead of the real world where their party lost the middle class to a cheesy huckster.
…at which point you are accused of being a “Putin bot.”
Thanks for your kind comment on the piece, Michael. Much appreciated.
Right on Gareth, NYT should be ashamed. I do wish someone when writing on this subject would remind us of what sort of things were attributed to Russian FB spots. I seem to recall one of them being cute puppies or something. So even if there were 80.000 posts from Russia why wouldn’t most of them just be people putting stuff on FB for friends or relatives in America? I have never understood this whole uproar about Russia trying to influence our election via internet posts. Anyone who thought that could work, given the utter insanity of tweets, FB and all the other media things that Americans do all the time in order to not have to think seriously about anything, is dreaming. Actually the Russians are much too intelligent to think FB spots would have any effect at all – which of course they didn’t.
Incidentally, I agree with all the people who said they don’t like this new font. I agree, it gives the wrong impression, and makes one wonder if this is a tabloid. Why are you messing around with a format that has worked fabulously in the past?
To be honest I have not been reading Consortium much lately because sometimes there is nothing new put out, and too often when there is, it is not on a topic in the top ten things I want to read about(believe it or not, I have limited time). Also I don’t have time to listen to an hour long radio show (or even a half hour). If you published a transcript, I would read that because I’m a fast reader, but the problem with radio is that you can’t fast forward like you often can with video. And usually with video you can see how long it is ,and you can fast forward to a section you want, helped by the fact that there is a small pic of who is talking etc.
I AM concerned about Assanage and I am also concerned about all the lies that are being told about Russia – along with all the others that Trump keeps spewing.
I have been to Russia to assist for a short while in a public school in Tver. It was an illuminating experience in every possible way. This was during Yeltzen’s reign and everyone was hopeful, but also poor. The economy was falling apart. The teachers hadn’t been paid for over a month, but they were still teaching, one student told me his father was an aeroflot pilot and was paid 50cents an hour. He was pretty angry about that. But all in all despite the economic turmoil everyone I met was friendly and helpful and generous. All we ever see in the US are photos of military parades and the like, I was unprepared for how beautiful the country is! I was also unprepared for the puckish sense of humor and charm of the people, and for much, much more that was delightful. Americans have no concept of what Russia is – and isn’t. It covers a huge swath of land but it’s population is half of ours. Russia lost 28 million people is WWII; that is more than the combined deaths of all the other combatants and citizens including the enemy! There is not a single Russian citizen who does not have a close friend or relative who died in that war. Russia after the war was just trying to get back up off its knees (after defeating the Germans, don’t forget), it certainly was not planning to attack any one, yet we started our “cold war” immediately. What was so terrifying about Russia? Well, now we know, it was the idea of communism or to put it more succinctly, socialism. Our wealthy were terrified that socialism would creep in and take over so we had to make Russia an ogre – it wasn’t hard; Stalin certainly gave us plenty of ammunition. But we’re still at it today. It’s time to stop the lies and look at reality. That is why I’m so concerned with our lies about Russia. Putin is not Stalin, and he may not be your or my ideal of a president, but then when have we had one? Lincoln? or Roosevelt? They also had their clay feet, and certainly we haven’t seen one lately – Obama? give me a break.
I guess I’ve said enough.
Bottom line on the anti-Russian Crusade: This actually began as the Clinton team’s excuse for defeat. Realistically, what do Democrats have left to sell? They split apart their own voting base, middle class vs. poor — divided and conquered themselves.
Russia is the bogeyman replacing “terrorists” (Mostly people fighting invaders and occupiers of their countries. America has no repect for diversity and other people’s cultures). Terrorism replaced “communism”, which after all the GIs and the endogenous peoples of Korea and Vietnam were killed, supposedly backed by communist China, became our permanent most favored trade nation, and received our jobs and technology, including advanced military technology; so they could hardly continue to be our bogeyman.
The Democrats have abandoned the poor and the working class, which ares essentially becoming the same people, in favor of ILLEGAL aliens, who are somehow “special” in comparison to poor Americans incarcerated or looking for work, and Wall Street, since those donors are served well by the Duopoly and reciprocate with huge donations (ie, bribes) to both parties.
Agreed, but rather than dismissing this behavior as merely Clinton’s excuse for losing the election I would be inclined to call it a component of one giant temper tantrum because a self entitled brat didn’t get what she felt was her right and that was her turn to be POTUS in 2016. Remember she also blamed Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein for having the audacity to actually challenge her, blamed the FBI, blamed misogyny, blamed Wikileaks (for reporting what was 100% factual as far as her cheating, anything and everything EXCEPT her own dishonesty, laziness by not campaigning the “deplorables”, and running on a “platform” that backed neoliberal economics and the status quo which is exactly what the majority of voters were voting against. What I find amazing is the fact that neither she or the DNC/establishment Dems. STILL don’t get it!!!
Ranney, I can’t thank you enough for telling us about your experience’s in Russia. I’ve learned much in the last 8 years or so…. as I was looking for pieces of the puzzle to form the big picture . I’ve done that by reading the best sites, much like CN here. I’ve found the big picture, and it’s ugly. Being a Vietnam era vet… what I found is how corrupt our country is , and seems to be worsening under the latest Chief Thief. Both parties are ,for the most part are not worthy of their offices. I also learned this , that the Russians under Putin have come a long way from the broken country that Yeltsin left. It seems that most Russians are God fearing people , and much like the everyday American citizens just want a decent job , a family and a home of their own. There was for a while a level of mutual respect between Russia and the US. Consider the years of work on the space station. Back a few years , the Boston marathon was being held ,and 2 brothers had left bombs in knapsacks. It was reported early on by the news , that a few weeks before there was a tip from the Russian security that the older brother was over in Eastern Europe to visit his mother ….but spent some time in another location and should be watched. They gave his NAME to I think the FBI. Sadly , for whatever reason, the FBI got the spelling not quite correct …and there was no way they could watch the perp’s movements . My point is that the Russian Govt. and their citizens are not the bogeyman that we make them out to be. Now …the assertions by the US keep ramping up to an extent that a nuclear holocaust is imminent…. God save us all.
Excellent comments ranney. It helps to understand about Russia by reading comments by some one who has lived in that country and looked at it with empathy.
What we are going through here 24/7 for the last two years in the Media with this Russia-Gate hysteria makes one feel that we are living in some kind of lunatic asylum – it is unreal. It seems like that it is not going to end well. As Stephen Sivonda said at the end of his comments God save us all !
Maybe enough, but it was well said.
Allow me to join the chorus of those saying a comment was printed then disappeared – as well as deploring the new printing jobs. It was not broke. Don’t fix it. Restore it, please.
Ranney: THANK YOU for telling about your Russian experience. I go to Siberia for a dinky non-profit, but mostly to see my friends, as often as I can manage, every one or two years in the summer lately, since 1989.
I’m ashamed to say how long it took to wash away the film of anti-Soviet (ie. anti-Russian) nonsense I was born into as a baby boomer. I’m immeasurably grateful to Prof. Peter Kuznick and Oliver Stone for their Untold History of the US that straightened me out about the atom bombs in 1945 and their real purpose. And that correction began the enormous shifted my perspective about Russian governance, our choice to start the Cold War and the cruel warping of int’l relations these 73 years.
I’ve always been enamored of the kindness, personal attention, humor, modesty, good spirits in the face of real adversity (and the remarkable classiness of not dumping unhappiness on guests like me) that I’ve universally encountered on my 15 visits, both long (10 mos) and short (11 days). My 95 yr old father, hard-boiled capitalist and anti-Commie, just asked me how they are suffering through the sanctions. I said that this summer the subject never came up, until I brought it up. 1st, us sanctioning them is normal. But beyond that, the response was a kind of sad wondering why the US would do this. (Even the two guys I finally(!) met this summer who hate Americans, were quickly ready to make an exception for me having barely met me.) Hard things are hard, but a long history of tenacity and experience with hard things keeps things in perspective.
I also want to say that I learned about friendship there. It is more serious and less complicated (by our transactionality of everything among others) than here. I know my friends there are firm friends in a way I simply don’t trust here in the US. Not sure how things are in Moscow/St Petersburg, but in “deepest darkest” Siberia, that is what I have found.
Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Along with Western Literature, I grew up up reading the great Russian writers of nineteenth century, and also Solzhenitsyn whose writings I read here. One develops empathy and love for the people of Russia and their culture, knowing full well what they have gone through.
Excellent post. Terrific summation of the US’s cruel treatment of Russia.
Thank you for telling us about your experience n Russia. I had a similar experience. There was a window of opportunity to visit, see what was going on and give a little help to people going through a hard time. A lot of people took that opportunity.
Now we re all “bots.”
MANY thanks, Ranney. Please keep your comments coming. ray mcgovern
Thanks for your words of encouragement, “ranney”, and for the very heartfelt and highly relevant comment on the wider, longer-term context of the current attack of Russphobia.
Well said and excellent post! I’ve never had the good fortune to visit Russia personally but had relatives who lived in Moscow for a few years. They reported the same impressions you did…that it’s a beautiful and very cultured country and the Russian people were exceedingly friendly as well as helpful. The one thing they couldn’t understand is why “Americans” hate them. That really makes the people of the U.S. look like a bunch of callous assholes which upon a little bit of self reflection unfortunately for too many of us that shoe fits perfectly.
Ranney – Thank you for your post. I had a similar experience, not by visiting Russia but by viewing a Russian sitcom on Netflix. The sitcom took place in Moscow. I was surprised to see how modern Moscow is and that people were living in apartments comparable to or even nicer than you’d find in New York. They were driving on modern freeways, and the Moscow skyline is comparable to any other major city worldwide. If I didn’t know the show was being filmed in Moscow, I’d have thought it was being filmed in the USA.
All my previous images of Moscow were pre-world WWII concrete block buildings, empty store shelves, and long lines for essential commodities. The revelation as to the level of disinformation in regard to Russia that I had succumbed to was personally embarrassing.
Thank you for further humanizing the Russian people and bringing to light how ignorant we in the USA are regarding Russia.
Yes, the font is harder to read. Please change it back. It is distracting. Maybe I will get used to it, but I’d rather not try. I’ve been coming here for a couple years or more now and I really love CN. Thank you for everything you do. Joe Lauria, you make a wonderful editor though we all miss Robert Parry so much.
It is NOT just the volume of posts on Facebook that threw the election. Trump himself asked Russia to hack DNC email and that threw Democratic leadership into ill repute…as it should have. They stole the primary from Sanders.
That was a joke from Trump, not a serious request. And there is NO EVIDENCE that Russia took him up on it, thus Mueller has occupied his time with the FB BS. RussiaGate was used to distract the sheeple from the CONTENTS of the emails that were LEAKED by a disgruntled DNC staffer, and sheepdog Bernie let them get away with sabotaging his campaign and expected us to support corporate sponsored warmonger from column B. The DNC and Bernie are to blame for his royal Orangeness being on the throne.
Trump’s joke wasn’t about the DNC emails. No one knew at that point about any DNC emails being leake or hacked. It was about the emails on Hillary’s private server when she was Secretary of State. At the time all the talk was that the server wasn’t secure and Russia could have hacked it. So Trump joked that if they did they should release them.
That’s right Miranda. Hillary was allowed to remove her so-called “personal” emails which was a obviously an opportunity to cover up anything she wanted. I can’t imagine a more blatant case of the powerful breaking the law and then getting “prosecutorial discretion”.
What is Russia-gate? It is the Swiss Army Knife of psyops with several amazing functions to choose from:
It can be used to overturn (or at least cripple) the election of a populist TV personality who accidentally slipped past all the defenses used to keep non-establishment players from positions of power. Because HRC was promised the White House after Obama’s term, Bernie was black-bagged and straw-man Trump was propped up as an easy knockdown on her way to the prize. Alas, all those Clinton Foundation down-payments sold as a “sure thing” were in fact worthless. Sorry, no refunds!
It also serves as the perfect “red herring”, excellent for distracting everyone from the actual collusion and corruption of a DOJ, FBI, DNC and White House that conspired to fix a presidential election.
As a pretext to demonize a recently reconstituted Russia, it provided the political cover for damaging financial sanctions and increased US MIC spending.
For those with half a brain, it serves as excellent illustration for how easily the American public can be bamboozled into believing an establishment narrative without any evidence whatsoever. Talk about your Jedi mind tricks!
and yet the president and his people are great admirers of the way the Russians do business and the president appears to owe at least several Russian oligarchs millions if not billions of dollars. It sort of appears that their might be a mild conflict of interest , not just with the Saudis and the Israelis but Russia as well. CN and it’s readers like to ignore this uncomfortable fact. then of course there is Trumpkin McGrifter’s obstruction problems. just because the NYTs sucks doesn’t mean there isn’t a big problem or that other sources (talkingpointsmemo for one) don’t have a surprising amount of circumstantial evidence amassed that suggests that Russia did help Herr Trumpkin…perhgasps by sending him Mr. manafort, certainly by offering him dirt on Clinton
Of course Trump is an opportunistic businessman, and a bad one at that. I would expect him to use the presidency to bolster the Trump brand and profit financially in whichever way he can. Why should everyone else be allowed to multiply (or make) their fortune in office and not him? He’s also a self-promoting, dishonest, ADHD flim-flam artist and womanizer – a person who easily evokes feelings of disgust and hatred.
Based on this character description, it is easy to see why there are many who want him to be found guilty of colluding with the Russians in order to steal the election from Hillary. This is the problem: Emotionality. Wanting something has the ability to cloud one’s thinking. For example, wanting a red sports car can make my mind come up with all sorts of justifications for buying one. I eagerly chase after the fantasy while ignoring the reality. I believe Russia-gate to be the same. Those who are emotionally repulsed by Trump are chasing after the fantasy (he’s guilty of collusion), while ignoring the reality (there is no there there).
Perfect definition of “Trump Derangement Syndrome”.
If these Internet Research Agency contributors were truly capable of swaying the 2016 elections through a bunch of meme posts, that would make them PR geniuses of Svengali-like proportions. In which case they’d all be working on Madison Ave by now with 6 figure salaries.
“If these Internet Research Agency contributors were truly capable of swaying the 2016 elections through a bunch of meme posts, that would make them PR geniuses of Svengali-like proportions. In which case they’d all be working on Madison Ave by now with 6 figure salaries”
Sadly, you don’t understand how this stuff works. The mechanism for mass influencing through social media is AI driven and it the AI continually works on it’s behavior modification techniques right up to and including looking at the GPS data and social media activity from an individual’s smart phone in order to determine things like the person’s mood,. this multi billion dollar system is already in place and for rent to anyone who wants to pay Google,Twitter, facebook andYouTube (among others) very minimal fees to either sell you dish detergent or just mind f%ck you in various ways. Social media algorithms have on their own, discovered that negative attention is the best way to modify behavior. that’s why social media “fake news’ has on quite a few occasions in India and `Myanmar, been able to modify the behavior of thousands rapidly such that they form mobs and murder people on a regular basis and for fractions of a penny per corpse. The internet wasn’t designed to whip up faceless mobs and mobs of bots but that’s what happened and harnessing those mobs is cheap and easy. I have no doubt the NSA and CIA are themselves are also involved in this sort of thing, but to think the Russians and pro-Russian Ukrainians haven’t had success with this as well is silly-it’s been documented. Interestingly, social media manipulation was one of Paul Manfort’s areas of expertise. Problem with old leftists like the ones here at CN is they have no idea what’s going on anymore, much less what’s possible.
Do you have some links for the stories about murderous mobs being hypnotized by social media “fake news” in India and Myanmar? Sounds like even more of a stretch than RussiaGate, although I think Rachel Madcow has quite a few hypnotized with “fake news” on MSDNC. Let’s see your “documentation”.
“In which case they’d all be working on Madison Ave by now with 6-figure salaries.”
For this kind of talent, I’d say 6 figures would be a paltry sum. It would be more like 7-figure salaries.
Thanks for this report, which further proves that social-media “giants” like FB and Twitter are utterly untrustworthy.
That said, I’m joining the chorus of commenters who dislike this choice of font. It’s “new”, “different”, and even “dramatic”, as a professional font-consultant might say. Please consider returning to something more mundane and readable!
At first, I felt foolish mentioning this problematic font choice in the face of something as serious as Assange’s escalating crisis. But when I discovered I wasn’t alone, I decided it was better to join the righteous chorus– put another way, this font is a distraction at best.
My favorite font for reading is Comic Sans.
This font reminds me of the old PICA font from high school typing class in the 1960’s!
Please choose the most readable font for the website. People who frequent Consortium News are readers!! Give our eyes and brains a break!
Oh, this following scenario makes so much sense:
August 25th, 2016.
Millennial Julie Typical is relaxing at home listening to some music and reading her Facebook feed on her smart phone after a hard day’s work.
Julie Typical is a pro-choice, Social Justice Warrior who nearly worships Hillary Clinton and absolutely despises Donald Trump.
She’s having a fun time scrolling through her feed seeing posts about cats playing the piano, what local bands are performing this coming weekend, what her second cousin did on vacation, recipes you can make in ten minutes, and meme of Captain Picard, the Most Interesting Man in the World, and the Cowboy from The Big Lebowski with fun little sayings put over them. She laughs at a baby’s strange expression in one meme and then comes on a meme that shows up because some friend of hers responded to some comment on it. There are so many comments she doesn’t even know what her friend commented. But she can’t help notice the meme.
Hillary Clinton has a terrible look on her face, is all in red, and has horns. She is wearing boxing gloves and is facing Jim Morrison when he had a beard except he’s dressed like Jesus and he’s wearing boxing gloves too. Above it are the words, ” ‘LIKE’ IF YOU WANT JESUS TO WIN.”
Julie Typical is mesmerized. She stares at the meme for a moment. It’s like a soft Russian voice is saying to her, “You vill vote against Hillary and for Trump, yes.”
Then she snaps out of it and keeps scrolling. She forgets about it.
November 6, 2016
Julie Typical had another long day. But she made sure to go vote after work, even though that meant a long line. But she had to vote her values: pro-choice, Social Justice Warrior, and electing the first woman president! Finally she gets in the voting booth. As she gets ready to vote for Hillary she suddenly sees the meme of Hillary as Satan and that a vote for her is a vote against Jesus. Even though Julie Typical is an atheist, she feels a compulsion. She can’t vote against Jesus! She finds herself voting for Trump. She hears a voice, “Da, Julie, Da.”
An excellent exposure by Consortium News and Porter. But of course Russophobes require no actual evidence for their beliefs. Nor do they generally examine the smears or question their credibility seriously. It’s patently obvious that Israel, not Russia is the obvious foreign influence in their politics, but few dare to go there.
Most of the “Russiaphobes” don’t get any alternative viewpoints. The are lazy consumers of the MSM propaganda, and hear no counter-narrative. As to Israel’s influence in our politics, a great two part video from Al Jazeera has just been posted on ICH. Check it out:
‘To put the 33 trillion figure over two years in perspective, the 80,000 Russian-origin Facebook posts represented just .0000000024 of total Facebook content in that time.’
The infinitesimaly small fraction quoted above is all the evidence one needs to respond to the cheerleaders of the deranged Russia-gate narrative.
PS> while I always applaud fresh approaches to website graphic design, I’m afraid that I have to concur with other comments – this particular font just doesn’t work.
Thank you for your remark about the poor font that is currently being used. Gareth Porter’s article is very good, but it was hard to read because the font is so bad. I hope this font will be replaced very soon.
It is no accident that this nonsense from the Times comes out prior to the crucial midterm elections, in which the Democrats see as an opportunity to flip the House and impeach the president, thus putting the McCarthyite hysteria back onto the front pages., and undercutting the president’s planned discussions with both Presidents Putin and Xi. We now know, as the result of Congressional investigations, that the entire Russiagate operation was a fraud, paid for by the Clinton campaign but created and run as a continuing psychological and information warfare attack by the Britain’s GCHQ and MI6, in collaboration with the Obama Administration, against the President. That is why the British government, and DOJ’s Rod Rosenstein, have thrown a fit about President Trump’s order to declassify the documents underlying the Justice Department’s illegal investigation against the President. Removing Trump is one of their goals. Backing down both Russia and China is another. If successful, such an effort can only result in a new World War.
This whole ‘Russia-gate’ thing reminds me too much of the Republicans’ ‘voter fraud’ charges. In both cases a losing party takes a non-reason for their election problems and elevates it into a supposedly significant reason for their loss, thereby diverting attention from the REAL reasons (either because those ‘real reasons’ are from themselves, or their from the electorate whom the party won’t criticize for fear of more lost votes (ie; after all we’re not talking about a philosophical search for truth here, we’re talking about electioneering.)
Eddie I think ‘the make our own reality crowd’ has taken over the asylum. You are not alone in your thinking. Great comment. Joe
It may be a glitch, and if so please rectify it ASAP, but I’m not liking the quaint Ye Olde Press font I’m getting on my browser when I come here lately. It may as well be in copperplate or even Comic Sans. Getting anyone else to take this stuff seriously is hard enough.
It won’t offend me if you remove this comment after you read it.
I simply wanted to express my view that the use of font-family: oldnewspapertypes is not aesthetically pleasing.
Please don’t take the comment as spam. I’m not spamming. I like the site and often link to it.
I was wondering if I was the only one who was getting this, I was thinking my browser was throwing up a glitch. I was fond of the professional look of old, one of the reasons I donate. This look is giving me a serious incongruity headache with the content.
Me too. It’s horrid.
I think it’s harder to read for some reason…?
Eddie – it is harder to read because the contrast between the text and the background is not strong enough and because the font is fuzzy. The text needs to be black and crisper. To me, it looks like an eighteenth/nineteenth century font. For fast, easy reading, I prefer a classic font like Times New Roman or Bembo.
Before going to law school, I was a typographer for 20+ years.
The font being used is designed to look like worn-out and battered movable type. Alright in an occasional display block but hardly designed for legibility of long texts.
In my experience, the typefaces most versatile are in the slab serif family. My personal favorite for text is GeoSlab703 Md Bt. See https://www.dafontfree.net/find.php?q=geoslab703&curpage=3 It’s available (not free) as a web font here. https://www.myfonts.com/fonts/tilde/geo-slab-703/
There are other slab serif web font variants available for free. http://makeitcg.com/slab-serif-google-fonts/2104/
Times New Roman was designed for narrow newspaper columns. It doesn’t treat the eyes so well in wider measures. Bembo Roman is a bit too thin in my opinion. Given that monitors’ settings vary in contrast and intensity, a somewhat thicker face is needed.
Listen to Paul!
I think he knows what he is talking about!
I would suggest Gothic script Paul. It’s old and therefore new to many, also different, and our readers will cherish anything Gutenberg put out, I’m sure of this. It’s too bad I couldn’t copy and paste from Word into this comment as I had some very cool fonts that would bring in the millennials, the ones who can read that is.
The adage ‘don’t fix what ain’t broken’ comes to mind, along with trying to reinvent the wheel. I’m sure it will be a wonderful wheel if our readers can see their optometrist weekly.
I read there are 120,000 readers here so that is a lot of eye-balls to fix. It totally distracted from the article Garath Porter wrote. as we used to say in TV land, it “pulls focus” away from the subject of interest. It is unnecessary.