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Don't Feed the Russian Troll Hysteria: New at Reason

FacebookFacebookAccording to a federal indictment unveiled on Friday, Russians who pretended to be Americans while participating in online political discourse during the last few years committed a bunch of felonies. Whether they accomplished anything else of significance is by no means clear, Jacob Sullum says, notwithstanding all the scary talk about "information warfare" that supposedly undermined our democratic institutions and interfered with the electoral process.

The New York Times, which last year breathlessly claimed that "Russia Harvested American Rage to Reshape U.S. Politics," reports that Donald Trump's "admirers and detractors" both agree with him that "the Russians intended to sow chaos" and "have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams." A Times editorial assures skeptics that "the Russian subversion effort" was "sophisticated" and "breathtaking" in scope.

The only thing breathtaking about this influence campaign, Sullum says, is the hyperventilation of the alarmists who talk as if we are just a few angry tweets from the abyss.

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  • Libertarian||

    I'm an atheist, but even so it's hard to argue against that pic.

  • SQRLSY One||

    That picture is accurate, except that Satan would NOT be arm-wrestling "fairly"... He'd be cheating by using "Booger Beam" (blowing snot in Jesus's face), AND getting all his buddies (witches, warlocks, heathens, vampires, were-wolves, and people who fart on airplanes) "piling on", on Jesus, NOT fair one-on-one!

  • SQRLSY One||

    For those interested in the evils of farting on airplanes...

    http://www.travelandleisure.co.....er-farting

    "Despite their pleas, the man insisted on unapologetically farting throughout the flight."

    That damned asshole REFUSED to stick an air-tight cork up his ass!!! Although one DOES wonder what the other passengers would have said, if he DID drop his trousers and stick an air-tight cork up his ass!!

  • SQRLSY One||

    Holy shit! We are witnessing, before our very eyes, the birth of a NEW terrorist threat!

    "Farterrorists" will load up on beans (sans "beano"), board their aircraft, and be seated right next to their role-playing supposed "anti-farterrorist" activists, who will loudly object... This giving justification to the farterrorist, who will proceed to try and smooth their ruffled feathers, by dropping his trousers and sticking an air-tight cork up his ass!!

    The farterrorist will then swell up and explode, spewing gasses & shit ALL OVER the plane, possibly bringing it down!

    DON'T SAY THAT I DID NOT WARN YE!!!!!

  • SQRLSY One||

    (Besides those who fart on airplanes, and those who decorate their yards with lawn gnomes)...

    Do you know who else would unfairly be helping Satan to "pile on" onto Jesus's arm, in the arm-wrestling contest?

  • Libertarian||

    People who hang wind chimes?

  • SQRLSY One||

    Also, people who let their kids or their dogs poop in my yard!

  • SQRLSY One||

    Also, people who decorate with pink plastic yard flamingos!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    "LoveCons' is a likely Russian troll.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    I discovered the other day that my left asscheek is a Russian troll. Luckily I keep my phone in my front pocket.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    That is just what a Russian would say.

    You just get your lefty comments on Reason obliterated every day, so you're looking to deflect some of your embarrassment.

    Wait.... you are on here every day. Hm. That sounds like you might be getting paid to: "Russians who pretended to be Americans while participating in online political discourse during the last few years committed a bunch of felonies."

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I've been here since the Bush years, you moron. And you Trumptards just started coming around since last year. Now shut up, moron. Reason should shit-can your IP address.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Aw Butt. I have been here since the Nixon years so there.

    Funny thing about Reason is that there is no way for other people to know how long you have been here or if you are a sock puppet.

    In the end, you have been a troll your entire time since you are not a Libertarian and don't add contribute anything to the discussions. You are being paid to be here by zee ruskies to make sure Libertarianism does not make a Classical Liberalism comeback.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Butt: Shut up moron. All you do is lie.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Long time huckster Billy Graham has died.

  • Old Mexican - Mostly Harmless||

    I wouldn't call him a 'huckster'. He was sincere and honest in his delusion. He wasn't a Trumpista, either --you know, a national socialist. No one can say the same about his son and successor.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Compared to his son, Jerry Falwell, Jim Bakker, or Jimmy Swaggert he was a saint. But that is low praise. He was still a huckster.

  • bevis the lumberjack||

    I never paid that much attention to the guy, if for no other reason than I was pretty young during his heyday. That said, you don't know jack shit about the guy, do you? Other than what your political opinion dictates that you should think......

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

  • Libertarian||

    In a just world, Holder would be living in disgrace under an assumed name.

  • Tony||

    Either the multimillion-dollar effort to influence American opinions via internet propaganda was absolute zero effect, or it had some effect. The election was decided on a razor's edge. So that "some" effect, if it exists, was as decisive as anything else.

    If the Russians had helped elect Hillary you people would be setting your testicles on fire about it, so do your dignity a favor and stop sucking Republican cock for once.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Tony, who cares if media from other countries influences anything?

    Your older lefty brethren fought anti-communist propaganda attempts in the USA decades ago. They were right for the wrong reasons. They were trying to cover up actual attempts by the commies inside the USA rather than protect free speech. You lefties would have covered up any Russian PR, if Hillary won.

    You lefties really need to stop sucking socialist cock so much. You lost the election and you will continue to lose elections Nobody likes a sorry loser.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    Most people already had an opinion of Hillary long before the Russians starting spending money on Facebook. I didn't see anyone that jumped from for Hillary to against Hillary, or vice versa.

    I think it had zero effect. Can you point to anyone, anywhere, that were persuaded by the Russian's attempts?

    Also, even the FBI has said that it did not affect the election outcome.

  • GILMORE™||

    - These russian troll-farms are effectively indistinguishable from perfectly-legal and commonplace social-media PR firms in the US which generate thousands of fake-tweets, fake likes on Youtube, fake followers for shitty-astroturfed accounts, write fake editorials for fake websites sort of like Clinton's "Blue Nation Review", but often conducting ratfucking, false-flag exercises where they parody the worst arguments of their opposition, creating 'evidence' which some other fake-editorial cites as proof of the shitty people commonplace among their (socialist/racist) opposition

    who needs the "russians"? the use of social-media to create hysterical hyperpartisanship is literally a daily operation engaged in by dozens of domestic orgs.

    the problem isn't the ill-intentioned actors claiming that Pepe memes are signs of a hidden KKK living in our midst.

    the problem are idiots who latch onto this sort of discourse and give it any credence whatsoever. and these idiots are mostly millenial-aged folks concentrated in new media.

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