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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 12:53 pm    Post subject: Russian Collusion story collapsing Reply with quote

With the end of one Congress, some of the committees investigating the election meddling of the Russians have been filed, and largely unnoticed by the mainstream media.

Quote:
... ? 2016 Election Content: The most glaring data point is how minimally Russian social-media activity pertained to the 2016 campaign. The New Knowledge report acknowledges that evaluating IRA content ¡°purely based on whether it definitively swung the election is too narrow a focus,¡± as the ¡°explicitly political content was a small percentage.¡± To be exact, just ¡°11% of the total content¡± attributed to the IRA and 33 percent of user engagement with it ¡°was related to the election.¡± The IRA¡¯s posts ¡°were minimally about the candidates,¡± with ¡°roughly 6% of tweets, 18% of Instagram posts, and 7% of Facebook posts¡± having ¡°mentioned Trump or Clinton by name.¡±

? Scale: The researchers claim that ¡°the scale of [the Russian] operation was unprecedented,¡± but they base that conclusion on dubious figures. They repeat the widespread claim that Russian posts ¡°reached 126 million people on Facebook,¡± which is in fact a spin on Facebook¡¯s own guess. ¡°Our best estimate,¡± Facebook¡¯s Colin Stretch testified to Congress in October 2017, ¡°is that approximately 126 million people may have been served one of these [IRA] stories at some time during the two year period¡± between 2015 and 2017. According to Stretch, posts generate approximately 1 out of 23,000 pieces of content.¡±

? Spending: Also hurting the case that the Russians reached a large number of Americans is that they spent such a microscopic amount of money to do it. Oxford puts the IRA¡¯s Facebook spending between 2015 and 2017 at just $73,711. As was previously known, about $46,000 was spent on Russian-linked Facebook ads before the 2016 election. That amounts to about 0.05 percent of the $81 million spent on Facebook ads by the Clinton and Trump campaigns combined. A recent disclosure by Google that Russian-linked accounts spent $4,700 on platforms in 2016 only underscores how minuscule that spending was. The researchers also claim that the IRA¡¯s ¡°manipulation of American political discourse had a budget that exceeded $25 million USD.¡± But that number is based on a widely repeated error that mistakes the IRA¡¯s spending on US-related activities for its parent project¡¯s overall global budget, including domestic social-media activity in Russia.

? Sophistication: Another reason to question the operation¡¯s sophistication can be found by simply looking at its offerings. The IRA¡¯s most shared pre-election Facebook post was a cartoon of a gun-wielding Yosemite Sam. Over on Instagram, the best-received image urged users to give it a ¡°Like¡± if they believe in Jesus. The top IRA post on Facebook before the election to mention Hillary Clinton was a conspiratorial screed about voter fraud. It¡¯s telling that those who are so certain Russian social-media posts affected the 2016 election never cite the posts that they think actually helped achieve that end. The actual content of those posts might explain why.

? Covert or Clickbait Operation? Far from exposing a sophisticated propaganda campaign, the reports provide more evidence that the Russians were actually engaging in clickbait capitalism: targeting unique demographics like African Americans or evangelicals in a bid to attract large audiences for commercial purposes. [....]
https://www.thenation.com/article/russiagate-elections-interference/


The Nation is a respected liberal 'high brow' magazine. The article goes on to discuss the use of anti-Russian patriotism in manipulative campaigning, and discusses how similar charges are suspecgted being used against Corbyn in the UK.

If you put any stock whatever in the "Russian collusion" story, you should read the whole article.
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