Financial analysts stated the failures of president Trump in his first 100 days confirm the real power lies with the members of U.S. Congress. Stocks keep pushing to higher levels.
Russia’s interference and effect on the U.S. election? Today still conjecture, just politics in DC and no hard evidence …
[A number of links added are mine – Oui]
Three weeks after Election Day, allegations of Russian interference in the contest continue to appear. Adm. Michael S. Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, stated that there was a “conscious effort by a nation-state to achieve a specific end.”
The Washington Post features an article alleging that independent research reveals that Russia ran a “sophisticated propaganda campaign” to interfere in our elections, weaken Clinton, and discredit our democracy. But much of the research cited comes from a group that insists on remaining anonymous and bases its conclusions on murky methodology.
Clearly, somebody hacked into the Democratic National Committee computers and into Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s e-mail. The intelligence agencies state that the former was done by hackers supported by or promoted by Russia. The agencies have been less clear about the source of the latter. Clinton campaign spokespeople have suggested that the Podesta e-mails–and the election-eve machinations of FBI Director James B. Comey, who no one argues is a Russian stooge–contributed to Donald Trump’s victory.
What were Russian President Vladimir Putin’s purposes in meddling with the U.S. election, if in fact he did so? (Putin dismisses the charge as “hysteria,” and cybersecurity experts argue there is no hard evidence.)
The Economist argues that “the Kremlin’s main objectives are to discredit the institutions of democratic elections and free press, and to weaken both candidates as much as possible.” It sought to make the election “look messy,” the Economist argues, and to “damage the brand.”
The hysteria being drummed up around Putin’s alleged intervention in the U.S. elections isn’t accidental. Neoconservatives and liberal interventionists have been pumping for a new cold war with Russia. Now, with Trump suggesting that he might seek a new detente with Russia, cooperate to attack the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and cool tensions over Ukraine, hyping Putin’s alleged intervention in our elections makes any cooperation more difficult.
In this situation, the press has to be careful that its reporting doesn’t peddle fear and neo-McCarthyite slurs rather than fact. For example, The Post’s front-page article touted “independent researchers” making the sensational claim that Russian propaganda efforts in the election “were viewed more than 213 million times” on Facebook alone. But the primary source of the report was the anonymous executive director of PropOrNot, which apparently started up just this summer and refuses to release the names of its leaders or the sources of its funds.
Andrew Cockburn, Washington editor for Harper’s, was sharply critical of The Washington Post‘s decision to put the story on its front page, calling the article a “sorry piece of trash”. Writers in The Intercept, Fortune, and Rolling Stone criticized The Washington Post for including a report by an organization with no reputation for fact-checking in an article on “fake news”.
In The New Yorker, Adrian Chen said that he had been previously contacted by the organization, but had chosen not to follow up with them. Looking more carefully into their methodology, he argued that PropOrNot’s criteria for establishing propaganda were so broad that they could have included “not only Russian state-controlled media organizations, such as Russia Today, but nearly every news outlet in the world, including the Post itself” on their list.
In December 2016, The Washington Post appended an “Editor’s Note” to its article in response to the criticism of PropOrNot’s list of websites. The note read, “The Post, which did not name any of the sites, does not itself vouch for the validity of PropOrNot’s findings regarding any individual media outlet, nor did the article purport to do so.”
○ Germany alarmed about potential Russian interference in election: spy chief | Reuters – Nov. 16, 2016 |
○ German Intelligence Agencies Find No Evidence of Russian Interference | Newsweek – Feb. 7, 2017 |
○ US intelligence chief: Russia interfering in French, German elections | Politico.eu – 10 hours ago |