McClatchy: Government investigating ‘far-right’ websites for possible collusion with Russia

McClatchy: Government investigating ‘far-right’ websites for possible collusion with Russia

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websites Russia Trump
(Source: YouTube, White House)
websites Russia Trump
(Source: YouTube, White House)

On Monday, the McClatchy news service reported that federal investigators are “examining whether far-right news sites played any role last year in a Russian cyber operation that dramatically widened the reach of news stories — some fictional — that favored Donald Trump’s presidential bid, two people familiar with the inquiry say.”  Two sites listed by the report are Breitbart.com and Alex Jones’ Infowars — sites that came under direct attack by Democrat Hillary Clinton during the 2016 general election campaign.

According to McClatchy:

Operatives for Russia appear to have strategically timed the computer commands, known as “bots,” to blitz social media with links to the pro-Trump stories at times when the billionaire businessman was on the defensive in his race against Democrat Hillary Clinton, these sources said.

The bots’ end products were largely millions of Twitter and Facebook posts carrying links to stories on conservative internet sites such as Breitbart News and InfoWars, as well as on the Kremlin-backed RT News and Sputnik News, the sources said. Some of the stories were false or mixed fact and fiction, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the bot attacks are part of an FBI-led investigation into a multifaceted Russian operation to influence last year’s elections.

Investigators examining the bot attacks are exploring whether the far-right news operations took any actions to assist Russia’s operatives. Their participation, however, wasn’t necessary for the bots to amplify their news through Twitter and Facebook.

The report adds:

Russia also used “trolls,” hundreds of computer operatives who pretended to be Trump supporters and posted stories or comments on the internet complimentary to Trump or disparaging to Clinton. Sources close to the inquiry said those operatives likely worked from a facility in St. Petersburg, Russia, dedicated to that tactic.

“Russian bots and internet trolls sought to propagate stories underground,” said Mike Carpenter, a former senior Pentagon official during the Obama administration whose jobfocused on Russia. “Those stories got amplified by fringe elements of our media like Breitbart.”

“They very carefully timed release of information to shift the news cycle away from stories that clearly hurt Mr. Trump, such as his inappropriate conduct over the years,” he said, referring to the October release of a video in which Trump bragged about grabbing women’s genitals. That event corresponded with a surge in bot-related traffic spreading anti-Clinton stories.

It’s not known if other sites are being investigated, but Jim Hoft, the owner of the pro-Trump Gateway Pundit, noted:

The liberal establishment has been after conservative websites since Hillary Clinton was shellacked in last year’s presidential election.

Democrats and the liberal media have not accepted the electoral thumping. Instead there is a war against any conservative voice who supported candidate Donald Trump.

Actually, the liberal establishment has been after conservative sites for years, but it seems the effort has ramped up since the election.

And let’s not forget what the Clinton campaign said during the election about Breitbart and sites like it:

“We’ve had a conservative media in this country for a while,” says the email, signed by campaign deputy communications director Christina Reynolds. “I don’t always like what they have to say, but I respect their role and their right to exist.”

But, Reynolds added, “Breitbart is something different.”

“They make Fox News look like a Democratic Party pamphlet. They’re a different breed altogether — not just conservative but radical, bigoted, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic conspiracy peddlers who never have been and never should be anywhere near the levers of power in this country,” the campaign added.

According to Reynolds, one of the campaign’s goals is to destroy the site.

“It goes without saying that we have to beat these people. But I want to beat them so decisively that their kind never rises again,” she added, indicating that Clinton would have no problem taking official action against other conservative sites she doesn’t like.

Fortunately, Clinton lost, but liberals have proved that they have no regard for the First Amendment right to a free press.  If this nonsense continues, we may well see a time when only one point of view is allowed to be expressed in America and if that happens, America as a free republic is finished.

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