Facebook released a statement announcing that it had removed 32 accounts and pages working to influence the 2018-midterm elections.
Pointing out the dissimilarities with previous Russian social media campaigns to sow divisions, Facebook said that account users had used VPNs and Internet phone numbers to mask their true identities.
Facebook also shared some of the posts that those accounts shared on Facebook. Each of those attacks Trump or supports leftist stances on a number of social issues.
There was even an event set up in opposition to the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville last year. Facebook canceled the event and even reached out to page administrators who had unknowingly shared the event info on their timelines.
Even though Facebook found no evidence to identify the perpetrators behind the interference campaigns, Democrats are adamant that the Kremlin is behind them. Democratic Senator Mark Warner said:
“Today’s disclosure is further evidence that the Kremlin continues to exploit platforms like Facebook to sow division and spread disinformation,” he said. “And I am glad that Facebook is taking some steps to pinpoint and address this activity.”
Despite rebuking, Senator Warner did not propose any strong retaliatory measures on Russia. On the other hand, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham promised to introduce a ‘sanction bill from hell’ that will have ‘everything but the kitchen sink’.
The New York Times exclusively cited Democratic lawmakers while not even alluding to Republicans. Their article does not even say if they reached out to the office of House Speaker Paul Ryan.
But even statements of Republican lawmakers are secondary to what NYTimes deliberately omitted from their coverage.
Reminding their readers about Trump’s tweet and subsequent statements would mean that NYTimes conceded that Trump was right all along. It was for the same reason that they avoided explicitly saying that the posts in question were all anti-Trump and supported stances of the Democratic Party. NYT article did not even use photos of some of those posts even though other news agencies such as the BBC used them multiple times in their coverage.
IF Russians did attack the American elections, it was not primarily to support Donald Trump’s candidacy. Their aim was to create confusion and chaos in which they succeeded. To this end, they would even support Democrats once they saw that Trump’s position was politically consolidated.
Trump is not a Russian asset; the partisan divide between media institutions is what Putin values the most. As long as there is Fox News on the right and NYT and MSNBC on the left, Putin does not have to do much to divide the American people.
President Obama, by comparison, was much softer on Russia when it came to Iran and Syria while President Trump has taken bold steps to fight Russian-backed aggression even at the risk of alienating his base. But where NYT and other leftist outlets (rightly) praised Obama for reaching out to Iran and Cuba, they condemn Trump for improving ties with Russia.
Likewise, where Fox News attacked President Obama over the Iran deal and reestablishing diplomatic ties with Cuba, they praise Trump’s effort to improve ties with Russia while NYTimes does the opposite.
If Putin is successful and there is a blue-wave in midterm elections, it will undoubtedly further exacerbate the chaos since Democrats and their base have already decided to impeach Trump long before Bob Mueller is due to announce his findings.
If the impeachment is successful, it will further alienate and disenfranchise the working-class voters. This, and not protecting Trump, is the primary focus of Russian interference in American elections.