Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Aided And Abetted

Uninronically, the real Donald Trump has tweeted "Facebook was always anti-Trump. The Networks were always anti-Trump, hence Fake News, nytimes (apologized) & WaPo were anti-Trump. Collusion?"

Obviously, there was no collusion, nor did The New York Times apologize.  David Frum responded "Does he know how Facebook works?" while another individual tweeted "Does he know how the presidency works?" and the snarkiest: "Trump knows more about Facebook than the generals do."

The news media may have been hard on Donald Trump. They were even harder on Hillary Clinton, probably because she has a (D) after her name and she is, well, a Clinton. A Harvard Law review of the Berkman-Klein enter report, “Partisanship, Propaganda, and Disinformation: Online Media and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election," noted

A key difference between the right and left is that Trump supporters found substantial coverage favorable to their side in left and center-left media, particularly coverage critical of Clinton. In contrast, the messaging from right-wing media was consistently pro-Trump....

The report found that the majority of mainstream media coverage was negative for both candidates, but largely followed Trump’s agenda. Immigration received more attention than any other substantive issue. However, it was eclipsed by the attention given to the scandals surrounding Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and the Clinton Foundation, which were perpetuated through the release of hacked emails. 

Facebook did its best, inadvertently, to assist Grump's campaign.  The Daily Beast has found

Suspected Russia propagandists on Facebook tried to organize more than a dozen pro-Trump rallies in Florida during last year’s election, The Daily Beast has learned.

The demonstrations—at least one of which was promoted online by local pro-Trump activists— brought dozens of supporters together in real life. They appear to be the first case of Russian provocateurs successfully mobilizing Americans over Facebook in direct support of Donald Trump.

The sheer magnitude of the fake news the Kremlin supported on Facebook on behalf of the American carnage candidate is astounding. The Daily Beast reports also

Russian-funded covert propaganda posts on Facebook were likely seen by a minimum of 23 million people and might have reached as many as 70 million, according to analysis by an expert on the social-media giant’s complex advertising systems. That means up to 28 percent of American adults were swept in by the campaign.

On Wednesday, Facebook’s chief security officer, Alex Stamos, revealed that Russia had “likely” used 470 fake accounts to buy about $100,000 worth of advertising promoting “divisive social and political messages” to Americans. It was Facebook’s first public acknowledgment of the role it unwittingly played in the Kremlin’s “active measures” campaign. Stamos’ statement was also conspicuous by what it omitted: Facebook has refused to release the ads. More significant, it hasn’t said what kind of reach Russia attained with its ad buy....

On average, Facebook ads run about $6 for 1,000 impressions. By that number, the Kremlin’s $100,000 buy would get its ads seen nearly 17 million times.

The inadvertent assistance provided by Facebook with the Kremlin began two or three years earlier when it was persuaded to block posts by pro-Ukrainian activists, who unsuccessfully warned that the site was being trolled by anti-Ukrainian activists.

Still, it is possible that neither social media nor mainstream media played the role the entertainment media did in promoting the mythic status of the billionaire real estate fraud.

And one of those famed, adored, and tremendously wealthy members of the entertainment media spent thirty years- beginning October 1, 1986- humanizing and promoting the fraudulent real estate con man as a pillar of wealth and success, a deal-making virtuoso.  Here is a portion of a 1997 interview:

There was one in 2011 in which Grump turned into Trump, an earnest fellow able to take a joke, delivering the nationally-famous (if not world-famous) "Top 10" list:

David Letterman ridiculed Donald Trump through the decades, which may- or may not- have reinforced the view of individuals who already seriously doubted Donald Trump. But his legend- the myth and the man- grew, so that when he announced for President in June of 2015, he was reviled for his bigotry but perceived as a credible figure.  He was no Harold Stassen, no Dennis Kucinich, and no Jim Gilmore.

Of course, David Letterman wasn't primarily responsible for the rise of a demagogue, nor was Facebook. But the notion that the media-entertainment complex feverishly tried to block Donald J. Trump's rise to the Oval Office belies a fundamental misunderstanding of the means and method of political propaganda. It is ridiculous and should be everywhere ridiculed.

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