Russian (dis)information ops
It was already getting ridiculous when you had people seriously / soberly attempting to claim RT.com is somehow a news source and not Russian government propaganda. (I mean, really, would you have ever cited Pravda as a valid news source?)
Then you’ve got folks trying to claim the Russian seizure of Crimea was somehow legitimate.
But now you’ve got Russians not only taking over social media to amplify certain points of view through auto-repeating Twitter-bots, but also paying to shove those ideas down people’s throats. (Hell, they’ve been shoving propaganda into social media feeds for years, but no one paid attention until last summer.) It’s even started to metastasize into doctrine.
The Russians were already shoving disinfo ops straight out of the 1960s Pravda playbook into your social media feed, but now a former FBI counter-intel guy is admitting they don’t know how to fight this fight.
What’s included in this fight? One of the most popular Texas-secession pages on Facebook was traced to the Russians. The fact that a page with as much blatant racism and xenophobia had over a quarter-million followers tells you this isn’t just a fringe effect. Hell, Infowars has over 830,000 followers on FB and over 340,000 on Twitter, and they think NASA are running child-slavery colonies on the moon.
So is it any wonder people were in a hurry to believe that “facts” were merely “viewpoints”? Especially in a year where expert predictions turned out to be wrong, not because of any facts, but because assumptions were flawed (like whether or not people would be turned off by a Presidential candidate that openly bragged about sexual assault and made fun of the disabled). In the meantime, you’ve got true believers convinced that the DNC is running a child-sex ring out of a pizza parlor in DC and that an Arizona state senator told the troops to “go f*** themselves” because those stories came from outside the “lamestream media” so therefore they must be legitimate proof of what they aren’t telling you.
So yeah, when the burden of proof is already set by pro-Russian-but-would-never-admit-it internet reactionaries as unreasonably high, in an area of expertise in which they have virtually no knowledge or experience but are now beholden to the idiocracy of “anti-establishment”-ism that says “anything that I read in a newspaper or government report is lying to me” but hey, I’ll pontificate on it anyway, then the more nuanced issues, such as trying to distinguish between unintentional bugs in the code and intentional hacks in the code will automatically be viewed as a personal assault on everything they hold dear in their heart’s most deep dark spots.
Now, we all know that there’s a significant sub-set of internet crusaders that have a muscle-memory reflex to automatically disagree with anything posted that could possibly dent their overly-nationalist, far-right, borderline-racist/sexist, anything-bad-about-Donald-or-the-Russians-must-automatically-be-an-apologia-for-why-Hillz-lost worldview, and whatever appropriate overseas counterparts there are (sorry that I don’t know all of the cast of characters, but pretty sure Marie Le Pen is in there along with Nigel Farange, and surely some others). Pointing out that Rex Tillerson has turned out to be an incompetent doofus who has gutted literally decades of accumulated institutional knowledge and experience is somehow cheered as a “good thing” because… why, exactly? Because RT.com and Brietbart told you it was?
And researchers have already started investigating why people are so hungry to deny the proof that keeps getting dropped in their laps, in part because the far-fringe conspiracists on both sides are largely wrong but what’s left in the more-nuanced middle is a pretty well-documented trail of Russian involvement not just in US elections, but also those in France and England.
Unless you’d rather not believe the FBI, the CIA, the GCHQ, the DGSE, and Interpol, and instead cite RT, Infowars, Brietbart, and Prison Planet as your primary sources.
But let me just close with this key question —
Knowing what we know about history — especially post WWII — and the general trends in national character and behavior, why would you ever set your default position to one in which the Russian ‘news’ is even worthy of consideration as a valid data point, and why would start rushing around in a fire drill to justify the continued belief in what’s been openly exposed as obvious and overwhelming disinformation campaigns, straight out of the Kremlin’s playbook from the 1960s?
Are you that in the tank for the Russians that you’re going to stand up and defend your use of their propaganda ops as necessary to your core identity?
Good luck with that.
If you enjoyed this, please give me the clap… no, whataminute — that didn’t sound right. How ‘bout some “applause”, so other folks get a chance to see it, too. And please feel free to share your feedback — it’s great to read your reactions. Thanks!