Kathleen Parker, Washington Post, on the hypnotic trance via social media on American voters:
Unfortunately, the minds of social media users are likely becoming more, not less, malleable. Demographically, the largest increase in news consumers on social media has been among older, nonwhite, less-educated people, according to Pew. Except for the nonwhite part, this would seem a boon to the GOP, whose constituents, though whiter than the Democratic National Committee’s, tend to be older and slightly less educated than those of Democrats.
Charles Blow, New York Times on the lower voter turnout of black Americans in the election:
…this attack appeared to be particularly focused on young black activist-minded voters passionate about social justice: The “Woke” Vote.
Referencing actual voter suppression, [the indictment of 13 Russians] says that “in or around the latter half of 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators, through their personas, began to encourage U.S. minority groups not to vote in the 2016 U.S. presidential election or to vote for a third-party U.S. presidential candidate.”
Now, it can surely be argued that the numbers for women and other minorities might have been even higher had it not been for the suppressive efforts, but at least their turnout numbers didn’t decline. For black people, they did.
What happened in this election wasn’t just a political crime, it was specifically a racialized crime, and the black vote was a central target.
Heart of Texas and Blacktivist were phony groups, part of a sweeping Russian disinformation campaign that was funded with millions of dollars and carried out by 80 people operating out of St. Petersburg, Russia.
By Scott Shane and Mark Mazzettifeb, New York Times:
In mid-October, Woke Blacks, an Instagram account run by the Internet Research Agency, carried the message “hatred for Trump is misleading the people and forcing Blacks to vote Killary. We cannot resort to the lesser of two devils. Then we’d surely be better off without voting AT ALL.”
Then, just days before Americans went to the polls, another Instagram account controlled by the Russians — called Blacktivist — urged its followers to “choose peace” and vote for Ms. Stein, who was expected to siphon support from Mrs. Clinton’s campaign.
Months before Election Day, Russian trolls “began to encourage U.S. minority groups not to vote in the 2016 US. presidential election or to vote for a third-party US. presidential candidate.”
At the heart of the Russian fraud is an essential, embarrassing insight into American life: large numbers of Americans are ill-equipped to assess the credibility of the things they read.
I can agree with much of this, albeit for different reasons. Once the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the New Yorker meet their just fate as fish-wrap, maybe Americans can finally hold an honest conversation.
Apparently it was primarily blacks that were duped. Look, I didn’t say it, they did. Is this turning into a (so-called) civil rights matter?
* Thanks to Stephen F. Cohen at the John Batchelor Show for the sources.