The indictment of thirteen Russians for various crimes spent relatively little time online before naysayers took to social media (ironically) to complain it was “nothing.” “It doesn’t matter.” “It doesn’t prove anybody in the Trump campaign was involved.” “This is all because some Russians used social media! That’s so stupid!”
Even President Trump got into it when he tweeted the following:
Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong – no collusion!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 16, 2018
The mockery of Mueller’s investigation by those who wholly support the absurd conspiracy theory the Justice Department, FBI and Hillary Clinton campaign were in cahoots with each other to make sure Donald Trump lost, comes off looking rather silly after the charges were handed down.
Caleb made a good point on Twitter about those engaging in said mockery:
Same people who are turning up their noses and scoffing at the idea that Russian propaganda matters dedicate entire websites to exposing bias in fictional television shows and MSNBC reports.
— Caleb Howe (@CalebHowe) February 17, 2018
It goes even further than that. The same people who claim the Mueller indictments are absurd are typically the first tell you about all of their Twitter followers and the level of engagement they receive on social media. They promote their work, whether it’s writing, podcasts, video or a mixture of both using social media. People rely on social media sharing to drive traffic to their content. To get people to read. To get people to engage. To get people to believe.
Why is it so impossible to believe the Russians couldn’t do the same by creating fake social media accounts to drive engagement. Not in support of any one candidate, but instead in creating chaos within the political system?
Some of you no doubt know the name, Jenna Abrams. She may have followed you on Twitter. She never changed her avatar. It was always the same:
Jenna amassed tens of thousands of followers and people wanted her to follow them. But there was no Jenna. She was the product of a Russian troll farm outfit. But she had people fooled. From The Daily Beast:
Abrams, who at one point boasted nearly 70,000 Twitter followers, was featured in articles written by Bustle, U.S. News and World Report, USA Today, several local Fox affiliates, InfoWars, BET, Yahoo Sports, Sky News, IJR, Breitbart, The Washington Post, Mashable, New York Daily News, Quartz, Dallas News, France24, HuffPost, The Daily Caller, The Telegraph, CNN, the BBC, Gizmodo, The Independent, The Daily Dot, The Observer, Business Insider, The National Post, Refinery29, The Times of India, BuzzFeed, The Daily Mail, The New York Times, and, of course, Russia Today and Sputnik.
That is one hell of a list of publications. Everything from The Washington Post to Breitbart was fooled.
So why is it so hard to believe the Russians couldn’t engage in the kind of chaos on a mass scale that would seek to interfere with our elections?
Remember, for Russia to claim success, their goal didn’t have to include supporting any one candidate. The goal was to sow seeds of distrust in the electoral system, the justice system, the political system and to turn Americans against each other. Looking at our political climate is there any doubt the Russians are celebrating?
President Trump may well not be connected to any of the activities of the Russians. In fact, it’s likely he’s not involved. The people who are part of the #Resist movement and think Trump will get indicted will likely wind up disappointed. But the president must show some leadership. In his tweet, he pretty much acknowledges the Russian malfeasance. He wants to separate himself from the events at hand but calling the investigation a “hoax” no longer applies.
President Trump can no longer sit back and choose to just dismiss the entire investigation and seek out ways to fire those associated with it. A foreign power attempted to meddle in our elections. It is time to take the Mueller investigation seriously, Mr. President.