This blockbuster report in the New York Times pretty much confirms everything that Trump and his minions have been denying about Russian interference in the elections in the U.S.
The Russian influence campaign on social media in the 2016 election made an extraordinary effort to target African-Americans, used an array of tactics to try to suppress turnout among Democratic voters and unleashed a blizzard of activity on Instagram that rivaled or exceeded its posts on Facebook, according to a report produced for the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The report adds new details to the portrait that has emerged over the last two years of the energy and imagination of the Russian effort to sway American opinion and divide the country, which the authors said continues to this day.
“Active and ongoing interference operations remain on several platforms,” says the report, produced by New Knowledge, a cybersecurity company based in Austin, Tex., along with researchers at Columbia University and Canfield Research LLC. One continuing Russian campaign, for instance, seeks to influence opinion on Syria by promoting Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president and a Russian ally in the brutal conflict there.
The New Knowledge report is one of two commissioned by the Senate committee on a bipartisan basis. They are based largely on data about the Russian operations provided to the Senate by Facebook, Twitter and the other companies whose platforms were used.
Add to that the fact that the Republicans have been working quite openly to suppress minority voting for about fifty years, and … well, to quote that immortal sage Curly Joe, what a coinky-dink.
So either the Russians saw a massive opportunity to influence the election in 2016 because American voters are gullible and easy taken in by such simple tricks as well-engineered planted stories on social media — not a surprise given that millions of people will believe that Elvis is still alive and working at a Burger King in Grand Rapids if the National Enquirer says so — or a crafty election campaign just happened to bump into a bunch of Russian operatives who could pull an election win out of the trunk of their Buick.
Whether or not they actively sought each other out or just happened to be working for the same goal and found themselves along the same path, and whether or not that becomes a de facto conspiracy is a matter for the courts and a jury to decide. But the result was what both of them wanted: the installation of Trump in the White House and corrosion of the American electoral system to the point that it could be manipulated by an outside force.