How the Trolls Stole the 2016 Election

Russian meddling did in fact throw the 2016 election to Donald Trump. That’s the finding of an exhaustive study by the respected scholar Kathleen Hall Jamieson. This mostly occurred, neither by rigging ballots nor by leaking damaging material, but by creating fake groups and fake news.

Just one item, among dozens of carefully researched examples, should persuade you. At one point, a fake online group, “Blacktivist,” created by Russian intelligence specifically to drive black support away from Hillary Clinton, was receiving more hits than Black Lives Matter.

You owe it to yourself to read either Jamieson’s book Cyberwar: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President or Jane Mayer’s extensive discussion of it in The New Yorker.

If Jamieson is right, are we looking for voter suppression in the wrong places? Should we be more apprehensive about the blue wave being drowned out in a tide of fake news, as Donald Trump might put it? Yes, we should, though a midterm election is a little harder to hack and troll than a presidential election, when everyone is focused on two candidates.

If the counter-intelligence agencies and the Department of Homeland Security are doing their jobs, they will be exposing and shutting down Russian trolls. If not, they are even more compromised by Donald Trump than we feared.

By |2018-10-01T17:51:50+00:00October 1st, 2018|Kuttner on TAP|0 Comments

About the Author:

Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect as well as a Demos Distinguished Senior Fellow. He was a longtime columnist for Business Week, and continues to write columns in the Boston Globe. He co-founded the Economic Policy Institute in Washington and serves on its executive committee.

Leave A Comment