Mueller’s shameful exaggeration of Russia’s election ‘interference’

In his presentation yesterday, former special counsel Robert Mueller acted as a propagandist, not as a disinterested public servant. One piece of evidence is his misleading presentation of Russia’s “election interference,” which he clearly exaggerated, while remaining, strictly speaking, accurate.

Writing in the Nation, a left wing magazine that is friendly to Russia, the genuine dimensions of Russia’s efforts were explained by Aaron Mate:

Posts generated by suspected Russian accounts showing up in Facebook’s News Feed amounted to “approximately 1 out of 23,000 pieces of content. (snip)

Scale: The researchers claim that “the scale of [the Russian] operation was unprecedented,” but they base that conclusion on dubious figures. They repeat the widespread claim that Russian posts “reached 126 million people on Facebook,” which is in fact a spin on Facebook’s own guess. “Our best estimate,” Facebook’s Colin Stretch testified to Congress in October 2017, “is that approximately 126 million people may have been served one of these [IRA] stories at some time during the two year period” between 2015 and 2017. According to Stretch, posts generated by suspected Russian accounts showing up in Facebook’s News Feed amounted to “approximately 1 out of 23,000 pieces of content.”

An online friend comments in an email:

This is consistent with everything I’ve seen on the subject. Mueller‘s report says The Russian disinformation campaign was systematic creating an impression of significance. But if This study is correct (and other studies I’ve seen are correct), Mueller’s report was purposely misleading… it is suspicious that [he] left it at “systematic” without going in to the amount of disinformation involved. I’m sure the studies were available to him.

But creating the impression that Russian disinformation was significant supported the widely promoted narrative that the Russians turned the election and it supported the hopes of expectations of many members of the media and many opponents of Trump.

That would make Mueller not a standup guy. I think that is consistent with the way he handled the obstruction issue and his failure to say in [yesterday]  morning’s announcement that he found no evidence of collusion, and much contrary evidence. Those are things his report said. Mueller has made quite a mess of things

Despite all the huffing and puffing of those who want to blame Hillary’s loss in sinister Russian collaboration with Trump, the fact remains that “interference” in elections by foreign powers is nothing new, and the United States engages in it, too.

Barack Obama’s campaign advisors traveled to Israel to interfere in that nation’s election during his presidency, for instance. And remember that before the UK’s Brexit vote, Obama stated that if it left the EU, Britain would go the “the back of the queue” in trade negotiations with the United States, an open placing of his thumb in the scale, telling Britons that the United States would punish a Brexit vote. Obama even pronounced “queue” the way the English do (sounds like cue), and years later, “Ben Rhodes, an ex-White House adviser, admitted Mr Obama's dramatic intervention in the EU referendum campaign came at the personal request of the former prime minister.”

So, it is important to establish a realistic perspective on Russia’s interference. Mueller’s presentation selectively chose language that created the impression that Russia’s efforts were far greater than they really were. This discredits him.

Image credit: YouTube screen grab

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