One of the developing strategies of the left, the media, and the anti-Trump faction is to tie anything they don’t like to Russia. This isn’t particularly news. If you’ve been a conservative long enough you’ve heard everything you believe in characterized as “fascist” or “Nazi.”
After the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. they are at it again, trying to label anyone who resists the call to “do something,” no matter how profoundly stupid “something” happens to be, as being either in sympathy with, or a tool of, the Russians. In particular, they are after the NRA.
— Eric Boehlert (@EricBoehlert) February 15, 2018
and why would Russia be so interested in seeing America drowning in guns?
— Eric Boehlert (@EricBoehlert) February 15, 2018
we need to connect larger dots re: GOP and guns.
why won't they do anything?? same reason they let Russia hack election. same reason they let Trump try to dismantle the FBI.
this is a deeply radical and dangerous movement.
— Eric Boehlert (@EricBoehlert) February 16, 2018
Hours after the Florida school shooting, Russia-linked bots flooded Twitter with disinformation. @KenDilanianNBC explains how Russia is using social media to meddle in U.S. politics. pic.twitter.com/UoGbXFMiOK
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) February 16, 2018
— The Hill (@thehill) February 16, 2018
Axios opines: “Wired reports that following the tragic shooting in South Florida on Wednesday, Russian bots “flooded Twitter” to spread pro-gun messaging and sew discord.”
The locus of this claim points to this article in Wired
What's happening here? Well, remember a few weeks ago it was reported that Russia is funneling money into the NRA? Yep. Promote guns sales and division around the Second Amendment, then swoop in and stoke fears further by terrorizing the victims.https://t.co/2skdYmLHi8
— Andrew Harrison (@htandrew) February 16, 2018
Superficially, the article seems measured. In fact, its conclusion is very much like what the Intelligence Community concluded about Russian involvement in the 2016 election before John Brennan hijacked the analysis:
Public awareness that antagonistic bots flood the Twitter debate hasn’t stopped them from achieving their goals of ratcheting up the vitriol—even amid a live tragedy like the Parkland shooting. The goal, after all, isn’t to help one side or the other of the gun control debate win. It’s to amplify the loudest voices in that fight, deepening the divisions between us.
But the monitoring organization…about which we know damned little…has an agenda:
Since the Twitter accounts Hamilton 68 tracks often target right-wing audiences, Schafer believes the trolls are using the message to attract more eyeballs. “That allows them to then push content that is more directly related to the Kremlin’s geopolitical agenda,” such as the Nunes memo…
Really? Exposing FISA abuse is directly related to Russia’s geopolitical goals? When did they become believers in transparency and the Constitution?
And this is another way they define “trolls:”
According to the group’s data, the top link shared by Russia-linked accounts in the last 48 hours is a 2014 Politifact article that looks critically at a statistic cited by pro-gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety. Twitter accounts tracked by the group have used the old link to try to debunk today’s stats about the frequency of school shootings.
I presume the Russians were sharing the article the Washington Post ran debunking the story:
In 2015, The Post’s Fact Checker awarded the group’s figures — invoked by Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) — four Pinocchios for misleading methodology.
What this article does is specifically tie pro-Second Amendment messaging to Russia and it claims, against all evidence, the Everytown report on gun violence at schools is being falsely criticized.
In my view, there are several threads running through this.
1. The left and their fellow travelers are deliberately exaggerating the reach of Russian-linked social media accounts. We know that the Russians invested about $370K, total, between Twitter and Facebook, for some really terrible ads.
2. The exaggeration has a larger goal of forcing Facebook Twitter, and Google to stop distributing ads that run counter to the left’s agenda by claiming they are pushing Russian themes. Because these companies aren’t going to want to view individual messages, it is pretty inevitable that they will decide to block or restrict access to messages being pushed by alleged Russian bots.
3. Articles like this try to push into the public consciousness that conservative/right issues are an adjunct of Russian propaganda.
Only a week ago, I posted about how the hero of the anti-Trump bunch, Adam Schiff, analogize support for the Second Amendment to being a Russian stooge. My take at the time:
Just because alleged Russian controlled social media accounts are pushing a theme, doesn’t invalidate the theme and it doesn’t mean people holding that belief are helping Russia or influenced by Russia. There are a lot of people, myself among them, who believe that our police forces have become far too militarized over time. A lot of us hold the view that policing in poor minority neighborhoods, and in downscale white neighborhoods is often a lot more adversarial and violent than need be. Some folks, with whom I do not agree, seek to de-police minority neighborhoods. Holding any of those views is the legitimate prerogative of American citizens. Just because Russia sees them as a fault line says nothing about anything other than Russia seeing an advantage.
If we go running for our Mommies every time a hostile power tries to run propaganda to sway public opinion, we might as well just run up the white flag, because we’ve lost any claim on being a sovereign people. If we allow ourselves to be bullied out of expressing our opinions because some alleged Russian bot agrees with us, we are truly stupid and deserve whatever misfortune befalls us.