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RECOMMENDED READING: “The Billion-Dollar Disinformation Campaign to Reelect the President”

October 14th, 2020 06:21

The Atlantic has pub­lished an exten­sive report detail­ing what it describes as the adop­tion by US Pres­i­dent Trump and his allies of the tac­tics of infor­ma­tion war­fare nor­mal­ly asso­ci­at­ed with author­i­tar­i­an regimes. Accord­ing to the report:

Feb­ru­ary 10,2020 After the 2016 elec­tion, much was made of the threats posed to Amer­i­can democ­ra­cy by for­eign dis­in­for­ma­tion. Sto­ries of Russ­ian troll farms and Mace­don­ian fake-news mills loomed in the nation­al imag­i­na­tion. But while these shad­owy out­side forces pre­oc­cu­pied politi­cians and jour­nal­ists, Trump and his domes­tic allies were begin­ning to adopt the same tac­tics of infor­ma­tion war­fare that have kept the world’s dem­a­gogues and strong­men in pow­er. Every pres­i­den­tial cam­paign sees its share of spin and mis­di­rec­tion, but this year’s con­test promis­es to be dif­fer­ent. In con­ver­sa­tions with polit­i­cal strate­gists and oth­er experts, a dystopi­an pic­ture of the gen­er­al elec­tion comes into view—one shaped by coor­di­nat­ed bot attacks, Potemkin local-news sites, micro-tar­get­ed fear­mon­ger­ing, and anony­mous mass tex­ting. Both par­ties will have these tools at their dis­pos­al. But in the hands of a pres­i­dent who lies con­stant­ly, who traf­fics in con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries, and who read­i­ly manip­u­lates the levers of gov­ern­ment for his own gain, their poten­tial to wreak hav­oc is enormous.

Read the rest here.