Thanks to the Russian government’s wildly successful 2016 effort at shoe-horning their asset into the Oval Office, we can all expect a metric shit-ton of disinformation to rain on our heads from now to election day 2020.
Every other bad actor — foreign and domestic — will jump on the disinformation bandwagon for fun and profit. They’ll divide us by race, gender and ideology at every turn.
I also expect them to get more sophisticated in their methods, with less crude and obvious messaging and more deliberate and effective media manipulation techniques.
Sometimes, the incident that kicks off a shit-storm might not even be deliberate or in the service of any particular agenda — it could come in the form of regular old “let’s you and her fight” fuckery and/or incompetence from horse-race focused media outfits.
Here’s a possible example of the latter from The Jolt, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s “political insider” blog:
Klobuchar’s ATL fundraiser raises hackles among Stacey Abrams supporters
Newly announced Democratic presidential candidate and blizzard survivor Amy Klobuchar, the U.S. senator from Minnesota, has a fundraiser in Atlanta on Friday at the home of Gordon Giffin, the former U.S. ambassador to Canada.
Many supporters of Stacey Abrams are expressing private displeasure…
One national Democrat operative with deep ties to Georgia, who didn’t want to be identified by name, criticized Klobuchar for holding her first event in the state with “Georgia’s old guard of failed Democratic moderates.”
“If you’re running for president and making your Georgia debut, you embrace Abrams, you embrace the new Democratic voter coalition and you don’t treat the state like an ATM,” the operator said.
The AJC blog post was tweeted by Politico’s Daniel Strauss, where it generated outrage at Klobuchar’s apparent snub of Abrams. Only it now looks like it’s 100% bullshit. Abrams’ former campaign manager responded to Strauss’s tweet:
.@staceyabrams is meeting with @amyklobuchar when she's in Atlanta this weekend, working on the scheduling. Stacey is meeting with any D pres candidate who asks, schedule permitting. https://t.co/ENoDRH1jyg
— Lauren Groh-Wargo (@gwlauren) February 21, 2019
Small tempest in a tiny teapot, and maybe this was a case of jumping the gun rather than malicious disinformation in service of an agenda. But this is the type of crap we’ll need to be on the lookout for in the coming days. I don’t think we’re equal to the task.