This article from the Forward is an example of how the establishment media is hysterically exaggerating this Russian bot business, in order to further the Left’s agenda of damaging the Trump presidency and, in this instance, further denigrating foes of jihad terror.
The attempt was indeed to “sow discord in the U.S. political system,” and the Russians did this, if the Mueller indictment is correct, by playing both sides against each other. They supported not only Trump but Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein, and supported pro-jihad efforts as well as (supposedly) supporting foes of jihad terror. Mueller’s indictment says: “In or around late June 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators used the Facebook group ‘United Muslims of America’ to promote a rally called ‘Support Hillary. Save American Muslims’ held on July 9, 2016 in the District of Columbia. Defendants and their co-conspirators recruited a real U.S. person to hold a sign depicting Clinton and a quote attributed to her stating ‘I think Sharia Law will be a powerful new direction of freedom.’ Within three weeks, on or about July 26, 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators posted on the same Facebook page that Muslim voters were ‘between Hillary Clinton and a hard place.'”
The Forward does not, of course, mention that. Instead, Josh Nathan-Kazis tries here to make a mountain out of the molehill of 20 retweets of Geller, 19 of Gaffney, and 18 of me. Does the Forward think its readers are absolute idiots, who will believe that 57 retweets out of “hundreds of thousands” actually amounts to something? (Since I’m shadowbanned on Twitter, no one but those who follow me would have seen those retweets anyway.) And how many times did the Russians retweet pro-jihad entities?
“Neither Geller nor the Center for Security Policy responded to a request for comment. ” Did Josh Nathan-Kazis ask Spencer for comment? No. Why not?
This article is simply an attempt to defame counter-jihadis by association with this alleged Russian interference. I would take it much more seriously were it not for the fact that a close friend has a Twitter account which he uses simply to follow people that interest him; he has never tweeted even once about anything. He got notice from Twitter that his account had been flagged as a Russian bot. This Russian bot business has about as much credibility as the Salem witch trials, and is based on a similar hysteria.
“Pro-Trump Russian Twitter Bots Targeted By Robert Mueller Also Boosted Muslim Haters,” by Josh Nathan-Kazis, Forward, February 20, 2018:
The Russian troll farm indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for interfering in the 2016 election also used its Twitter bots to boost the message of a handful of prominent anti-Muslim extremists, including right-wing Jewish activist Pamela Geller.
The Russian-operated bots promoted tweets and articles by Geller, Robert Spencer and Frank Gaffney, all of whom are identified as anti-Muslim extremists by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The number of bot tweets dedicated to the extremists was apparently small, no more than a few dozen out of hundreds of thousands. But they point to a Russian effort to boost anti-Muslim sentiment as part of a broader campaign to sow divisions in American society.
In September 2016, Geller, a Long Island-based Jewish activist who came to prominence a decade ago as a flamboyant anti-Muslim ideologue, tweeted a link to a story on her personal blog headlined “Christian Teen Raped and Hung: Muslim Cops Say ‘Natural Causes.’”
More than 100 people retweeted Geller’s tweet. According to a database posted online by NBC News of Twitter handles operated by Russian Internet trolls, at least two of the accounts that retweeted the Geller tweet were Russian bots.
Twenty of the Russian troll bots in all retweeted or mentioned Geller, according to the NBC database. Eighteen retweeted or mentioned Spencer, who co-founded the group Stop Islamization of America with Geller. Nineteen retweeted or mentioned Gaffney, the anti-Muslim founder of the Center for Security Policy. The Russian bots used the hashtag “#islamkills” 477 times and the hashtag “#stopislam” another 232 times.
Last week, Mueller’s office indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies, including St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, known for its trolling on social media.
The court document said those accused “had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”
The indictment said Russians adopted false online personas to push divisive messages; traveled to the United States to collect intelligence, visiting 10 states; and staged political rallies while posing as Americans.
There is no sign so far that Geller or any of the other anti-Islam activists collaborated with the Russian effort.
Neither Geller nor the Center for Security Policy responded to a request for comment. Geller is among the most polarizing figures in the American Jewish community, a far-right activist whose anti-Muslim rhetoric has drawn condemnation from some in the Jewish community, and an open ear from others. Leftist Jews protested in 2013 when a Modern Orthodox synagogue in Long Island invited her to speak. And a major mainstream Jewish donor-advised fund sent money to Geller’s nonprofit in 2012 and 2013….