Baconing and Russian hacks

russia_putin-601e5-1990A vital and concise story at WaPo discusses Russia’s successful effects to alter and manipulate American public opinion prior to the 2016 U.S. election. The goal was to create suspicion among voters in general and infighting among Democratic voters in particular in order to defeat Hillary Clinton. Many of the negative stories we heard about Hillary, and even much of the meme that the primaries were “rigged” against Sanders, originated with Russian fake news.

The entire piece is worth reading, but within the story is this interesting passage:

Russian (and former communist) propaganda has traditionally worked exactly this way: The more you “report” something negatively, the more the negative is true. Trump and supportive media outlets adopted the technique and reveled in information gained from the illegal Russian hacking (as well as many “fake news” stories that evidence suggests were generated by Russian intelligence operations) to make exaggerated claims (“Hillary wants to open borders to 600 million people!”) or to accuse Clinton of illegality, corruption and, ironically, treasonous behavior.

What is particularly valuable here is the advice about how we, as resistance fighters within the nation soon to be ruled by banana Republicans, can move forward. The techniques used by Russia have worked, did work, and will continue to work.

The more something is reported negatively, the more it is believed. Repeated accusations of illegality, corruption, and treasonous behavior will have an effect–particularly because, in Trump’s case, they’re all true. Any attempt to look deeper into Trump’s malfeasance will yield, not debunking as it did with all of Russia’s fake news stories about Hillary, but further evidence of ever-uglier abnormality.

One of the reasons the Russian efforts were effective was the constant drip of new accusations, bound by an underlying concept, but in an ever-widening circle of Bacon-like separation, resulting in the impression of a dark and massive conspiracy. It began with the absurd theories around Benghazi, which morphed into a private email server, which became emails hacked from the DNC, and culminated in the near-daily release of emails from John Podesta and the Comey bombshell about emails discovered in the laptop belonging to Clinton’s adviser’s estranged husband. All of these contained the word “email”, which, by subconscious implication, reminded conspiracy theorists of something something Benghazi mumble Hillary something–even though each step in the bacon was taken specifically because all the previous steps had proven to be false.

Dwell on that for a moment. Multiple lynch mobs investigations showed the Benghazi conspiracies to be baseless, but they led to the stories about Hillary’s private email server. Having a private server while being a federal official is not new or unusual, but it is something the public didn’t know about how business in Washington is routinely run–so it was made to look suspicious. Multiple investigations, however, proved Clinton didn’t do anything untoward or out of the ordinary in email conversations. Then Russia hacked the DNC with the assistance of Wikileaks and the conversation changed again.

Notice, from then on, nothing in the baconing actually has anything to do with Hillary. The DNC (not Clinton or her campaign) was falsely accused of “rigging” the primaries against Sanders; the Podesta emails didn’t even have to result in any firm accusations about anybody doing anything; and Comey’s bombshell only grabbed attention due to prurient interest in a laptop owned by someone brought down by a sexual  scandal.

Each successive slice of bacon succeeded in creating the impression of a dark Lovecraftian beast hiding just below the waters. The lurking evil hadn’t been discovered yet, not because it wasn’t there, but because of the mad cover-up skills of the conspirators. The lack of evidence proved how good the cover-up was. The next clue would surely blow it all wide open!

In the end, the beast remained unrevealed. It didn’t have to show its face. Jaws and Alien proved what isn’t seen is often scarier than what is. We never got any evidence of any wrongdoing.

What we did get is a template.

The technique worked, and it worked well–and, like the standard form of a romance novel or technothriller, it can be reused, and used to bring down the banana Republicans. I’ve given some hints above. We’ll explore it all more deeply in future installments.

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5 thoughts on “Baconing and Russian hacks

  1. Here are a couple that look into Putin’s fortune. I figure they fit into this collection as interesting background, after all this is the man that Trump idolizes.

    Is Vladimir Putin hiding a $200 billion fortune? (And if so, does it matter?)
    By Adam Taylor | February 20, 2015
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/02/20/is-vladimir-putin-hiding-a-200-billion-fortune-and-if-so-does-it-matter/

    Vladimir Putin ‘corruption’: Five things we learned about the Russian President’s secret wealth
    by Adam Withnal |
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/vladimir-putin-corruption-five-things-we-learned-about-the-russian-presidents-secret-wealth-a6834171.html

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve struggled along the same path of frustration watching gullible people buy what was on sale here. We on the left like to argue with each other; I suspect it’s because we like to talk with people who are more prone to listen and think (sarky of me, I know).

    There’s one more entity you might like to put in the mix, the right-wing Koch-allied Judicial Watch, who spearheaded attacks on the Clintons and Obama since the 1990s, and led the charge on the emails arising from Benghazi. One other interesting piece I picked up on was that it was Chaffetz and the Republicans who voted to defund embassy security. It is all too typical of their organization to create a problem and blame their targeted enemies for it.

    Following on from that, Judicial Watch is also joined to Rep. Lamar Smith on attacks on NOAA and the temperature record.

    Attacks using FOIA and emails, and Russian hacks, have proved a winning combination in the infowars. You may remember the CRU hack and all the kerfuffle. Only Mike Mann has had any success beating this back, with Cuccinelli in Virginia. Texas has now given permission for a wholesale capture of emails, and I can’t help being pessimistic about the result.

    I can’t help seeing shades of Orwell’s 1984 in the wholesale abdication of the public to the marketing/infotainment industry. The token service to action provided by Facebook is outgunned by the ability of right leaning followers to isolate themselves with fake news and never expose themselves to outside information. Even within these social action groups, there is the continuing problem of isolation from divergent opinion, as evidenced by the hard core Berniebuster factor who refused to follow Bernie out of the bunker. They still blame Hillary, and refuse to take responsibility for their buyin to the Hillary attacks.

    Here’s a good article on the Hillary email situation. I believe the Hillary campaign, and Hillary herself, could have made these arguments more forcefully and frequently. “The real Clinton email scandal is that a bullshit story has dominated the campaign”
    http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/11/4/13500018/clinton-email-scandal-bullshit

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful reaction and commentary. Yes, I’m also feeling a little hopeless about how this all worked out, and about how it is likely to work in the future. One thing we need is for the news media to stop reporting things like “Trump says …” or even “Trump claims …” but rather, “Trump lies about …”

      But as you say, this won’t affect his supporters, who only consult their approved news sources of fake news, and will see the sudden honesty of other media as more proof that the MSM is rigged them.

      Liked by 1 person

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