The Coming Information War

The Mueller investigation was primarily into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Much of the discussion in the report about that interference is redacted.

We can expect the same in the runup to the 2020 election. That means starting now.

What Russia is doing cannot entirely be dealt with by those in political power (those who want to, anyway) or those in network power (same). And it’s not just Russia, it’s China, North Korea, Iran, and some 400-pound dude in his mother’s basement. We all have to be responsible consumers and distributors of information on the internet.

This is going to be one of my themes. Today I found a particularly good Twitter thread, which I’ll put into a more narrative form. The thread has gifs that I won’t drag in, so if you like that sort of thing, check out the link.

1/ Finished Reading the . I want to highlight 3 things in the report and how they relate to the IRA (Senate data set) investigation that I was part of last year:

2/ #1 In the “Tactics and Tropes of the Internet Research Agency” report, it was important to me to focus on the *infiltration of movements & activation of Americans* who were identified and targeted. The Mueller report does that as well, noting repeated outreach via Messenger.

3/ From both far-left/far-right press there’s been an ongoing “haha it was just some stupid memes” line.

No.

The IRA went far beyond what a “social media agency” does. It leveraged techniques used by intelligence pros to target Americans, develop trust, get ppl to take action.

4/ When we think about how disinformation will spread in 2020, this kind of engagement with real, aligned Americans will likely be a big part of it. It’s hard to identify this kind of activity.

7/ There were dozens of formal FB Events but they also occasionally put random event promos into Insta posts. There were tons of community events promoted on Black-community targeted FB pages. Instigating in-the-street action is another thing I would expect more of for 2020;

8/The Mueller report did a great job describing how the IRA prioritized getting people out into the street, carefully monitored results, had ppl take photos, etc. That’s bc it’s an important part of their operation. News coverage + incendiary images lead to emotional engagement.

9/ Point #3: Influencer manipulation. This is another tactic we wrote ab in the Tactics & Tropes report. Many Trump campaign accounts retweeted IRA sockpuppets. Not mentioned in the Mueller report: the celebrity accounts, journalists, etc that also retweeted this stuff.

14/There are still ppl who don’t believe Russia did anything, or can’t separate “interference” from “collusion”; maybe the will help them accept that the GRU hacks & IRA influence op really happened.

They did.

And whatever party you are, that should make you mad

15/ Thanks for reading this thread that was actually very short compared to other threads. 420.








Set Your Alarm – AG Barr To Hold Press Conference 9:30 Eastern Thursday Morning

Trump has also said he may do a press conference after. Obviously, if the report is released in the press conference, nobody will have had time to read it.

 

I am wondering if what is released will be the marked-up redacted 400 pages or a rewrite by Barr. Also if the text will be searchable or if it will be one of those inert pdfs.

 








{Facepalm} Open Thread: A Little, Little Man in A Very Big Job

I think the real “news” here is that the Wingnut Welfare Wurlitzer is apparently trying to make Paul Ryan the new Nancy Pelosi — an all-purpose excuse for their collective failures:


(… because there were only so many futile attempts to subpoena the clouds in Jerome Corsi’s head that even Paul Ryan was willing to undertake… )

Yeah, that’s the problem: America hasn’t slid anywhere near down the economic greasy pole as Russia… and even in his younger fitter days, Donald was nowhere near as physically intimidating as Vladimir:


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Friday Evening Open Thread: Fox News, Enemy of Democracy

Given First Amendment protections, Fox News can do pretty much what it wants on the air. It can shrug at Hannity’s excesses. It can allow Tucker Carlson’s misleading rants on immigrants and crime. It can constantly undermine special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Trump.

But for mainstream journalists to suggest that there be no consequences or even recognition is willfully blind — and smacks of an unseemly inside-the-Beltway solidarity.

What Fox News has become is destructive. To state the obvious: Democracy, if it’s going to function, needs to be based on a shared set of facts, and the news media’s role is to seek out and deliver those facts…

… Fox News can continue to function as something close to Trump TV. It can go on spreading disinformation.

But everyone ought to see it for what it is: Not a normal news organization with inevitable screw-ups, flaws and commercial interests, which sometimes fail to serve the public interest.

But a shameless propaganda outfit, which makes billions of dollars a year as it chips away at the core democratic values we ought to hold dear: truth, accountability and the rule of law…

Did someone say ‘Tucker Carlson’?








Late Night Horrorshow Open Thread: King of the CPAC Clown Show

After an excruciating week which even he could perceive was a laughable program of stepped-on rakes and exploding cigars, the Squatter-in-Chief needed some high-test ego-balm in the worst way. And ‘the worst way’ is exactly how he got it!

On stage and in meeting rooms of a convention center at National Harbor, Maryland, attendees alike donned bright red “MAGA” hats as speakers praised the president lavishly as the savior of the nation.

“I see the greatest president in history,” Mike Lindell, an avid Trump supporter and the chief executive officer of My Pillow Inc., said as he addressed a Thursday session of the Conservative Political Action Conference. “Of course he is, he was chosen by God.”…

Trump arrived to a hero’s welcome on Saturday at CPAC, where eight years ago he was booed. His critics in the conservative movement have either become supporters or been largely excommunicated from the gathering.

“The men and women here today are on the front lines of protecting America’s interests, defends America’s value and reclaiming our nation’s priceless heritage,” Trump told the crowd, after predicting a bigger victory in 2020 than he achieved in 2016. “With your help, we are reversing decades of blunders and betrayals. These are serious betrayal to our nation.”

Chants of “Trump! Trump! Trump! Trump!” filled the arena as the president accused his predecessors of enriching foreign countries at America’s expense. Calls for “Four more years” rang out as Trump ran through many of his well-worn applause lines…

In interviews over the past week, Republicans on Capitol Hill offered an array of reasons for their unflinching loyalty to Trump as the 2020 campaign begins to take shape: a deep-seated fear of his pull with their supporters in primary races; fraying consensus about conservatism as nationalism takes hold of the party; and shared partisan disdain for Trump’s perceived enemies in the news media and the Democratic Party.

“We’re not going to turn on our own and make the Democrats happy,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), who is up for reelection in 2020. “We don’t see any benefit in fracturing, but we do see a lot to lose.”…

If you click on Daniel Dale’s tweet below, you can see all of his commentary on two hours of psychodrama and fear-massage. I hope the Star pays Dale well, because the poor man must be at real risk for PTSD by now.


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