According to the New York Post, the FBI are not only investigating Russian meddling in US elections, they are also looking into conservative websites that boosted Trump and were critical of Hillary Clinton.
Is free speech dead in America?
This sounds more and more like McCarthism as the days go by. What’s next?
Get this. McClatchy reported that the FBI is trying to determine whether bots that promoted articles on sites like Breitbart News and InfoWars were in some way related to a Russian effort to interfere in the US election.
The report stated that federal investigators are not only looking into links between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives, they are also investigating several conservative pro-Trump sites to see if they worked with the Russians to disseminate “fake news” on social media. The sites under suspicion are InfoWars and Breitbart.com. The FBI is also looking into Russian-backed news sites RT and Sputnik News.
Operatives for Russia appear to have strategically timed 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 conservative news operations took any actions to assist Russia’s operatives.
In other words, the thought behind the investigation is that Moscow created a bunch of fake social media accounts and used those accounts to link back to stories from RT, Sputnik, InfoWars, and Breitbart. Now the FBI wants to know if the two sites mentioned in this article helped facilitate the spreading of these stories?
This is totally bizarre. I am a writer for several websites, and I know a website owner does not know if stories are being spread by a bot or a person. In my view this is a matter of free speech. To curtail what a website can and can't say is against a journalist's right to free speech.
Are we really pretending the Clinton’s campaign wasn’t also making use of bots on social media to influence the election? Isn't influencing the election what Donna Brazile and Democrat Party Chair, Debbie Wasserman-Schults did? McClatchy reported that while Donna Brazile was working for CNN, she was caught giving the Clinton campaign the debate questions in advance of her debates with Bernie Sanders.
Brazile said that “neither the party committee nor the Clinton campaign had used bots to widen the reach of their anti-Trump messages.” Why should anyone believe Donna Brazile? It’s not like she’s such a reliable or honest source.
Even if they didn’t use “bots,” there was no question David Brock’s Correct the Record PAC paid people to canvas sites like Reddit with pro-Hillary, anti-Trump messages. There is no difference, if so; it’s purely semantic.
The real question here is what’s the ultimate outcome? What else could the owners of those websites do?
The Democrats know they will not be able to prove that Trump colluded with the Russians, but they are going to do everything they can to mar this president to try and convince the American people that he is corrupt.