Republicans and Democrats, along with almost all of the media, have accepted the lie that the Russians engaged in unprecedented “interference” in the 2016 Presidential election. It is a ridiculous proposition and is based on a presumption rather than actual evidence. The Intel Community said it is true so, by definition, it must be true.
Let’s focus on the actual numbers. How much money did the Russians spend? According to Robert Mueller, $1.25 million per month. If you start that money clock in May of 2016, that means those pesky Rookies spent $8.75 million. But let us be generous and add on the previous four months, essentially starting the clock in January 2016 before the first primary votes. That brings the total to $13 million.
Hillary and Donald, by contrast, spent over $81 million on Facebook alone. According to TechCrunch:
Russian information troll farm the Internet Research Agency spent just 0.05 percent as much on Facebook ads as Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s campaigns combined in the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, yet still reached a massive audience. While there might have been other Russian disinformation groups, the IRA spent $46,000 on pre-election day Facebook ads compared to $81 million spent by Clinton and Trump together, discluding political action committees who could have spent even more than that on the campaigns’ behalf.
Trump and Clinton, when you factor in their various political action committees, spent millions more.
A fuller analysis of the spending on the major social media platforms was provided by Medium.com:
Surprisingly, Clinton’s campaign was overall more active on Twitter and on Facebook than Trump’s, generating 19 percent more messages (11,475 messages by Clinton to 9,390 by Trump). On Facebook, Clinton generated 500 more messages than Trump. While Trump’s tweets seemed to garner more news coverage, Clinton’s campaign was actually substantially more active on social media, generating 25 messages a day on average to Trump’s 20.
Yet, Trump’s social media following was larger than Clinton’s. In November 2015, Clinton had 1.7 million followers on Facebook. By Election Day that had grown to 8.4 million, a 394 percent increase. Trump had 4.2 million Followers on Facebook in November 2015. By Election Day, that number jumped to 12.35 million, a 194 percent increase. So, while Clinton saw a greater increase, Trump still had nearly 4 million more followers. . . .
All of this suggests that while Clinton’s campaign was overall more active on its social media accounts, it did not receive the same amount of attention and support on social media as compared with Donald Trump. . . .
In the last months of the campaign, generally the focus shifted to voter registration and then get-out-the vote efforts. Social media can be a useful starting place for helping give supporters events and activities to do to be part of the campaign and to help with the effort of winning the election. Although both campaigns, indeed, increased their calls-to-action in the last two months of the campaign, Clinton beat Trump in volume of such messages on Facebook and Twitter, producing a third more call-to-action type messages (See Figure 17). If we only look at Facebook, however, Trump’s campaign produced as many call-to-action type message as Clinton in October.
When it came to asking people to vote, the Clinton campaign produced more than twice as many messages asking for people to vote on election day on the two platforms (See Figure 18), but most of that was on Twitter. On Facebook, both campaigns urged people to vote at the same rate, but on Twitter, Clinton’s campaign produces three times more appeals for votes than does Trump.
So, the Lilliputian Russians, spending a pittance compared to the Goliaths of the Clinton and Trump campaigns, was the deciding factor in 2016? Bullshit.
The pathetic and laughable U.S. intelligence community (aka IC) did not do a state-by-state breakdown of how these various social media campaigns operated in those states that swung the election to Trump. Nor did the IC look back at the Russian and Soviet Union covert propaganda efforts over the previous 90 years. If you are going to do a comparison you need to have a benchmark. This is what we know for certain–Russia and its predecessor, the USSR, ran comprehensive and continuous information operations in the United States, including computer network operations.
No one can say with any degree of certainty that what Russia did in 2016 was qualitatively and quantitatively different. Also, the IC is completely silent on the efforts of other countries, such as China and Israel. Nope, just accept on faith that the Russians committed an attack worse than Pearl Harbor.
I had my own experience with Russian media influence, or the lack of such influence to be more precise. I was interviewed on Russia Today aka RT on March 4, 2017 to comment on Donald Trump’s claim that the FBI had wiretapped Trump Towers. During that interview I noted that the Brits, not the FBI, were ones doing electronic surveillance of Trump. And how did the public and the media react to that bomb shell pronouncement by me? Crickets. No reaction.
The crazy insistence that Russia grossly interfered in our 2016 election is a canard. Too bad the vast majority of America has bought into this absurd nonsense. Yes, there were groups linked to the Russian government that were pushing stories on social media. The Chinese did the same thing. So did the Israelis and the Brits. I am sure there are other countries who were pushing their own agenda as well. But that is a truth American is too damn lazy to grasp.