This is interesting. Considering the way the left was nearly wetting themselves about “voter suppression” earlier in the week over the revelation that a few thousand Russian dollars had targeted black voters with the message that it didn’t make any difference which white person won the presidency, this is rather ironic. Via the New York Times:
As Russia’s online election machinations came to light last year, a group of Democratic tech experts decided to try out similarly deceptive tactics in the fiercely contested Alabama Senate race, according to people familiar with the effort and a report on its results.
The secret project, carried out on Facebook and Twitter, was likely too small to have a significant effect on the race, in which the Democratic candidate it was designed to help, Doug Jones, edged out the Republican, Roy S. Moore. But it was a sign that American political operatives of both parties have paid close attention to the Russian methods, which some fear may come to taint elections in the United States.
The project’s operators created a Facebook page on which they posed as conservative Alabamians, using it to try to divide Republicans and even to endorse a write-in candidate to draw votes from Mr. Moore. It involved a scheme to link the Moore campaign to thousands of Russian accounts that suddenly began following the Republican candidate on Twitter, a development that drew national media attention.
“We orchestrated an elaborate ‘false flag’ operation that planted the idea that the Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet,” the report says.
Mr. Morgan said in an interview that the Russian botnet ruse “does not ring a bell,” adding that others had worked on the effort and had written the report. He said he saw the project as “a small experiment” designed to explore how certain online tactics worked, not to affect the election.
Mr. Morgan said he could not account for the claims in the report that the project sought to “enrage and energize Democrats” and “depress turnout” among Republicans, partly by emphasizing accusations that Mr. Moore had pursued teenage girls when he was a prosecutor in his 30s.
“The research project was intended to help us understand how these kind of campaigns operated,” said Mr. Morgan. “We thought it was useful to work in the context of a real election but design it to have almost no impact.”
The project had a budget of just $100,000, in a race that cost approximately $51 million, including the primaries, according to Federal Election Commission records.
Keep in mind that the budget for this “experiment” in one state, Alabama, was basically the same as the Russians spent on the 2016 election and that is alleged to have elected Donald Trump.
The campaign was noticed by the media and whether by accident or by collusion, they spread the story that Roy Moore was Putin’s favorite candidate. Via Daily Caller:
The Montgomery Advertiser, an Alabama affiliate of USA Today, was the first to run with the story. Brian Lyman, the reporter on that story, did not immediately return The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment. National media outlets quickly seized upon Lyman’s story.
“Roy Moore flooded with fake Russian Twitter followers,” read the headline on a New York Post story, which cited the Advertiser.
Left-wing publication Mother Jones cited the same report in a story titled, “Russian Propagandists Are Pushing for Roy Moore to Win.” That report didn’t rely exclusively on the fake Twitter followers, citing Russian media’s favorable coverage of Moore.
The Washington Post focused its story on the fact that Moore blamed Democrats for the fake accounts.
Here are the media mocking Moore for saying Doug Jones was to blame (h/t Daily Caller):
The guy behind this apparently has a history of this sort of douchebaggery:
It’s to the point is where I’m really not sure what, if any, rules exist anymore. The only sure rule is that if a Democrat campaign does it, it is thinking outside the box. If a Republican campaign does it, it is voter suppression and deeply immoral.