On Friday, journalist Matt Taibbi reported that a Washington, D.C., think tank, the Alliance for Securing Democracy, co-opted by neoconservatives and neoliberals, was the source for “hundreds if not thousands” of mainstream media stories about “Russian bots” running psy-op campaigns in American politics. But, Taibbi pointed out, the think tank’s “arbitrary” list of Russian bots was overwhelmingly neither Russian nor bots but often “ordinary people” branded as such.
“These people,” Taibbi wrote, “never knew they were used for years to drive hundreds if not thousands of media headlines about supposed Russian bot infiltration of online discussions: about the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, Tulsi Gabbard’s campaign, the #ReleaseTheMemo affair, the Parkland shooting, Donald Trump’s election, the #WalkAway and #IStandWithLaura hashtags, U.S. missile strikes in Syria, the Bernie Sanders campaign, the ‘Blexit’ movement to peel Black voters away from Democrats, calls to fire National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, attacks on the Mueller investigation, and countless other issues.”
Enter “Hamilton 68,” the think tank’s online “dashboard,” ostensibly designed for reporters and academics to publish, under their reputable institutions’ name, numerous and wide-reaching stories about “Russian disinformation” that the think tank itself knew was based on a contrived list.
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