Charlie Rood: USA and Russia and Fake News

Here is the audio of my commentary and text below (runs 5:28) –

I am amused one of the top stories this week is about Russia using social media during our presidential campaign to post fake ads millions of Americans may have (gasp) viewed, or (double-gasp) clicked on, or (get me some air please as I’m gasping for life) actually ‘liked’!

Yes, ‘Russian Operatives’ doing anything and everything possible to try and sway voters leading up to the presidential election and then trying to disrupt America beyond the election.   How dare Russia produce all that campaign misinformation and blatant exploitation of political passions, done with the intent to inflict influence upon an innocent and unsuspecting American public.

Such egregious actions, especially utilizing Facebook, Twitter, and Google, had to be addressed by our political leaders because they are the protectors of truth, justice, and the American way (apologies to Superman for stealing his platform).

Problem is, it’s our own political leaders at the forefront of America’s born, bred, practiced, and perfected brand of loose truth, injustice, and the divided American way!

From America’s first days until now, we have been Russian fake ad purveyors ourselves.

Some of the best examples of pervasive political partisanship are the very own words our early leaders used to attack each other during campaigns.    If not the candidates themselves, then it was their supporters.   Many of the nasty ads we have today pale in comparison to what America has produced historically.   Editorializing, in words and cartoon form, is not new.   What’s new is the way it’s shared, even subscribed to.

Fake news stories leading to misinformation and exploitation in presidential campaigns are not foreign to us.   If anything, they should be expected by us.   And in this computerized communicative connected world we live in today, why not expect foreign fakeness?

How much homegrown fake truth have we endured leading to loose truth?   Fact checkers have field days every presidential campaign, even though fact checkers seem to need fact checkers sometimes.   How much homegrown fake justice have we endured leading to injustice?   While many powerful politicians have been brought down by their own incorrect justifications, many continue to hold office.   How much homegrown division have we endured despite political promises to unite America?   Every campaign seemingly pushes us into the Divided States of America instead pulling us into the United States of America.

Russian fake ads.   Russian collusion.   Russian manipulation.   What about American fake ads, American collusion, and American manipulation?   To steal a quote, “We have met the enemy and he is us”.

How prominent were the Russian fake ads on Facebook?   A Facebook spokesperson says the postings were only a small portion of material Facebook users see every day.   How small?   Equal to about 0.004%, or one in 23,000 pieces of Facebook content.   That’s smaller than small.   Twitter reports Russia-related accounts were just 0.012% of the total accounts on Twitter and election-related tweets accounted for less than 0.74%.   There is nothing to account.   Google found two Russian accounts that spent a total of $4700 on its platform during the election cycle.  That’ll break the bank.

I promise you, every election cycle, there are more ads produced in America containing fake facts and fake stats than Russia could ever hope to create.

What about Russian collusion?   At this time, there is no proof of any collusion.   But, American collusion?   Ask Bernie Sanders about Hillary Clinton and collusion.

Then there is Russian manipulation.   Who is being manipulated?   Not “me” you say, but that person over there, doesn’t have a clue and is easily led astray.   Meanwhile, that person over there is saying, not “me”, but that person over there…   it’s always the other person who doesn’t get it and is subject to manipulation.

Having said all this, you might think I’m pessimistic.   Wrong.   I continue to be optimistic.   Why, because I know, and you do, too, that even with all this, the United States of America continues to be the best country on Earth to live free and enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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