Local US media is reporting on how what are described as “political smears” helped to win four California Congressional seats for Republicans. According to the CalMatters report, the information campaign was orchestrated by the National Republican Congressional Committee:
March 30, 2021 The story twisted facts and omitted context to fit a partisan narrative. It implied then-California Rep. Gil Cisneros engaged in criminal insider trading and knowingly profited from confidential congressional coronavirus briefings in the early days of the pandemic.Cisneros’ opponent, now-Rep. Young Kim, issued a press release featuring the story that was published Sept. 17 by the California Globe, a partisan news site. Kim also tweeted a link later that day that was retweeted 32 times and posted the story on Facebook, where it was shared 52 times and generated 40 comments attacking Cisneros. She never retracted the press release or the social media posts — not even when the Globe removed the story from its website in response to a letter from Cisneros’ attorneys. Not when Cisneros publicly called on her to do so. Nor would her spokesperson answer repeated CalMatters’ questions about it.The damage was apparent once the votes were counted.Last fall, Republicans flipped four California Congressional seats previously held by Democrats. In addition to Kim’s win in Orange County, David Valadao defeated T.J. Cox in the San Joaquin Valley; Michelle Steel beat Harley Rouda in Orange County, and Mike Garcia defeated Christy Smith in northern Los Angeles County. Although the races varied in their rhetoric, they had one thing in common: the National Republican Congressional Committee targeted all four Democratic candidates in dossiers posted publicly that were filled with information, some of it false, used by some candidates for negative campaigning.
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Recent Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reporting on US information operations has included:
- A March report on how pro-Trump forces blamed “Antifa” for the violence at the US Capitol.
- A January report on the “QAnon Caucus” inside The Republican Party.
- A January report on how the Trump Administration politicized intelligence on foreign election influence.