June 12, 2022

"From the beginning... the Russians saw disinformation as an attack against open societies, 'against a liberal epistemic order.'"

"It was meant to erode the foundations of democracy by undermining trust and calling into question what was a fact and what was not. The brilliant insight of Russian disinformation is that it needn’t be false — the most effective disinformation usually contains more than a kernel of truth. Sometimes it can be a single bogus paragraph inserted into an otherwise genuine document. In the 1980s, the Russians popularized the false claim that H.I.V. was created in a U.S. lab in Ft. Detrick, Md. But that canard required bribing obscure journalists in remote countries and took decades to reach a wide audience. Now, a young Russian troll in St. Petersburg can create a false persona and push out dozens of tweets in an hour at almost no cost with almost no consequence — and reach millions of people in an hour. The internet... was optimized for mass disinformation."

From "Misdirection, Fake News and Lies: The Best Books to Read on Disinformation/The phenomenon has undermined our trust in electoral systems, in vaccines — and in what happened at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Here are books on its history, techniques and effects" (NYT).

I quoted from the section of the review that is about "Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare" by Thomas Rid.

The review is by Richard Stengel, who was the under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs from 2013 to 2016 and who himself has written a book about disinformation, "Information Wars: How we Lost the Global Battle Against Disinformation and What We Can Do About It."

46 comments:

gilbar said...

The internet... was optimized for mass disinformation."

you mean, like the idea; that The President of The United States, paid hookers to urinate on a bed?

wendybar said...

Lies, like claiming there are Bio-labs in Ukraine is Russian disinformation, when it is TRUE?? The US Department of Defense finally came clean...after people like Mitt Romney called out Tulsi Gabbard saying "“Tulsi Gabbard is parroting false Russian propaganda. Her treasonous lies may well cost lives.” And Jen Psaki saying "reports of biolabs in Ukraine were fake news propagated by Russia." https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2022/06/us-department-defense-finally-comes-clean-admits-public-document-46-us-funded-biolabs-ukraine/


Forgive me, but our Government lies to us all the time. Why do we still trust them? They can take their fake disinformation crap and shove it where the sun doesn't shine.

Lars Porsena said...

"From the beginning...the Russians saw disinformation as an attack against open societies"

Russia has been doing this since October 1917....apparently some people have just caught on.

Sebastian said...

Not a word in there about the largest, most harmful disinformation campaign in American history: the Russia collusion hoax, instigated by the Clinton campaign, using the Alfa and Steele dossier tracks, aided and abetted by the MSM, carried out by government agencies and a special counsel, and eagerly supported by Dem elected officials. Much prog talk about disinformation is itself disinformation.

As a side note, since the Russians knew the hoax was a hoax, they also realized that Dems and the American deep state despised their domestic opponents so much that they would use any means necessary to defeat them--that the Americans were just like them, just as cynical, and that any protestations about the rule of law or "our democracy" were entirely phony. The hoax itself served Russia better than any Kremlin disinformation campaign could have: it undermined an administration, it deeply divided America, it undermined a big part of the public's trust in government, and it nakedly exposed American operatives in their cynicism and shortsighted domestic power lust.

Michael K said...

The fear of nuclear power is still the most successful KGB operation. Right now most "disinformation" come from the Biden regime and its allies.

rcocean said...

The problem is our Soviet Style USA media which marches in lock step on every important issue and buries news that harms the left, and spreads lies about the Right. We just had the President of ABC "produce" a show on the J6 committee which was then aired on every news channel and network EXCEPT Fox. This despite having ZERO news value.

All this nonsense about "disinformation" is a way to get Americans to accept more censorship.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Squelching free speech is apparently the course of action all the smart set recommend.

Hunter Biden's tax payer funded Hooker said...

Nicole Wallace: 'The Typhoid Mary of Disinformation'

Hunter Biden's tax payer funded Hooker said...

When the Soviet American left carry out a disinformation campaign - it's for your own good. It takes a village of MSM hacks and FBI frauds to lie on behalf of the scorned women who was owed the presidency.

David Begley said...

This is funny coming from the NYT. The same NYT that pushed the Russia Hoax for years.

Hunter Biden's tax payer funded Hooker said...

Hillary and her paid loyalists told us that Tulsi Gabbard is a Russian Spy.

LOL.

At what point do even good liberals tell Hillary and her paid loyalists to drop dead?

Temujin said...

Richard Stengel. Seriously? He was Supreme Director of Disinformation for years as the editor of Time. It's hard for me to slough off the NY Times using a review by Richard Stengel to talk about how disinformation came about. Stengel is shoulder deep in our Permanent Governing Class. Richard Stengel on how propaganda can be good for you.

Richard Stengel: "I always told my journalists, there aren’t two sides to a lie. Yes, you should be non-partisan, but not neutral. Journalists must be biased in favor of the truth and facts. Biased in favor of democracy itself. We protect the press so the press can protect democracy. Let’s do that."

My question for the Times and Stengel is, as always, who makes the determination about what will be held up as The Truth? And who will protect us from our protectors? Given what I know about Richard Stengel and the NY Times, it would be hard for me to take their list on the best books for disinformation without a handful of salt.

And not for nothing, but what undermined the trust in the election system (not the electoral system) and vaccines for some of us was not what we read on Twitter. It was the evidence of our own senses.

Narr said...

The Leftoids have chutzpah, if nothing else.

We have been in the Age of the Professional Disinformationalists for decades now. What Sebastian says at 953am tracks with what I've been thinking for years. It seemed clear to me that the Russians knew that all they had to do was make some contacts with people around Trump and the Deep State Dems would take it from there. (Remember that business about adoptions?)

But Sebastian's scenario is simpler and makes as much sense--the Russians didn't even have to
start the ball rolling, they only had to sit back and watch, like fellow professionals.

tim maguire said...

the most effective disinformation usually contains more than a kernel of truth.

Disinformation is also more effective when your government has already betrayed your trust. You can blunt or even eliminate most disinformation with a little common sense and healthy scepticism, but our filters would work a lot better if our government didn’t so casually lie to us and work against us.

mccullough said...

Given the number of communists embedded in American colleges and universities since the 1930s, disinformation has flourished. First the Russian government then the Chinese government.

The United States needs to shut down colleges & universities until we figure out what the hell is going on.

Mike Sylwester said...

Now, a young Russian troll in St. Petersburg can create a false persona and push out dozens of tweets in an hour at almost no cost with almost no consequence — and reach millions of people in an hour.

... or a troll in Topeka, Kansas

... or a troll in Stuttgart, Germany

... or a troll in Nice, France

... or a troll in Naples, Italy

... or a troll in Perth, Australia

... or a troll in Cape Town, South Africa

Greg The Class Traitor said...

Isn't it amazing how the Left has moved from "the answer to bad speech is more speech" to " no one I disagree with should be allowed to speak"?

That's what happens when even you dont' believe that your ideas actually have any value.

I'm going to let others list all the disinformation and misinformation the Left is pushing these days, and just point out that only left wing lunatics ever bought the "H.I.V. was created in a U.S. lab in Ft. Detrick, Md" BS.

Whereas "Covid was created at the Wuhan Institute of Virology" is a claim that's highly likely to be true.

But the institutions the author wants to use to suppress "disinformation" mostly worked to block the spread of this likely true story.

Which is why "suppression of mis/disinformation" is not a legitimate task / power to be given to anyone (other than me. I'd be happy to do it for Fauci's salary. But I wouldn't trust anyone else).

Mike Sylwester said...

In 1989, I was a USAF captain, stationed in the Pentagon, working for the USAF Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence (ACS/I). More specifically, I was a long-range plans officer.

In that position, I dealt with various Beltway Bandit companies that peddled threats to the Intelligence Community.

Suppose such a company had a Russia specialist who had to be paid a salary. That company might think that specialist could write some assessments on the subject of, for example, "the Russian Disinformation Threat".

In order to develop that intellectual product, that company might try to get that threat included in various plans and requirements of the US Intelligence Community. In particular, that Beltway Bandit company might try to get the Pentagon to include "the Threat of Russian Disinformation" in its ACS/I long-range plan.

Soon, the CIA, DIA and other Intelligence agencies would begin to generate "requirements" to collect information about Russian Disinformation.

========

Based on my own experience, I perceive that the "Russian Disinformation" threat has been resurrected in recent years by Beltway Bandit companies (and by US Intelligence agencies) who have aging Russia specialists who still have to be paid salaries.

Those Russia specialists are cranking out and will crank out many analyses about Russian Disinformation -- about the history, about the Russian institutional culprits and about the modern methods and manifestations. These analyses will prove that the US Government must spend much more money to collect, analyze and disseminate information about Russian Disinformation, which is a dire threat to US security.

Mike Sylwester said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Drago said...

Sebastian: "Not a word in there about the largest, most harmful disinformation campaign in American history: the Russia collusion hoax, instigated by the Clinton campaign, using the Alfa and Steele dossier tracks, aided and abetted by the MSM, carried out by government agencies and a special counsel, and eagerly supported by Dem elected officials."

And supported vigorously by at least half the elected "republicans" in DC, including the entire "republican" leadership class with the sole exception of Devin Nunes, who was then targeted by Paul Ryan and his dem allies.

Ryan, naturally, quite busy these days attempting (and succeeding to a great extent) in turning Fox News into MSNBC-2.

gilbar said...

Michael K said...
The fear of nuclear power is still the most successful KGB operation.

I don't know, i'd vote for the Nuclear Freeze campaign of the early 1980's
After Years (and YEARS!) of soviet weapons advances, The USA started attempting to match.
Which led DIRECTLY to the "Call to Halt the Nuclear Arms Race” in 1980.. the Nuclear Freeze not only garnered the support of most American peace organizations but also was endorsed by numerous public leaders, intellectuals, and activists. Former public officials, such as George Ball, Clark Clifford, William Colby, Averell Harriman, and George Kennan, spoke out in favor of the idea. Support for the proposal also came from leading scientists, including Linus Pauling, Jerome Wiesner, Bernard Feld, and Carl Sagan.

The nuclear freeze movement was an action that would leave the Soviet Union in a state of superiority.. Which, Was OF COURSE, THE WHOLE POINT.
The Majority of Politically Correct college kids WHOLLY supported the freeze.. These kiddos then moved on to the "Eco" movement, and ALL the damage That did.

Drago said...

This is just more battlespace prep for the continued democratical Soviet-ization of all domestic communications and open assault on our constitutional rights.

Hunter Biden's tax payer funded Hooker said...

The collective hivemind left use the word "disinformation" as a shield, to cover for any honest critique of THEIR disinformation.

realestateacct said...

The antidote for disinformation is a culture of rigorous honesty and transparency. Our media and our Federal government and most state and city governments are failing because they are not trusted because they do not act in ways that inspire trust.

Michael K said...

Blogger gilbar said...

Michael K said...
The fear of nuclear power is still the most successful KGB operation.

I don't know, i'd vote for the Nuclear Freeze campaign of the early 1980's


This was all related. Remember Three Mile Island and the movie "China Syndrome?"

Reagan was reacting to a Soviet propaganda campaign that the US would not risk its own country for a limited Soviet attack on Europe. The answer was to station Intermediate Range Missiles in Europe. The campaign then turned on all nuclear power.

JK Brown said...

"The internet... was optimized for mass disinformation."

The internet whose development was funded by the US Department of Defense directly and like the US Intelligence Community quietly? That internet?

The internet is optimized for mass gullibility. And when that is mixed with the "educated" who preen over their degrees, you get a lot of people easily gulled.

Not everyone has advanced degrees. Schooling is organized to not teach regulation of emotions so even those with only high school can be fed emotional response triggering content. Which they are. I've friend who sends me crap off his phone's newsfeed all the time. I try to tell him, if it is being pushed to you, it is doubly unreliable. Social media and the big content producers hate "pull" since to pull some news from somewhere, you've applied some thought. Not so with "push" content in feeds.

Fortunately, many people in America are small 'r' republicans and the US is a republic. The very definition of republican is to have low trust in anyone or institution who presumes to rule. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance and every so often, you have to burn it all down, hopefully only reputationally, but as with universities, perhaps abandon for a long period.

Mikey NTH said...

The cure for disinformation is more information, not less, not curated information.

Kevin said...

Next up: NYT-sponsored luxury travel packages where Ivy League professors of Political Science lecture at various stops on the history of disinformation.

Jupiter said...

"Russia has been doing this since October 1917....apparently some people have just caught on."

The "Russian Revolution" was actually a terrorist coup against the Russian State, and very few of the people involved were Russians. The NYT supported those revolutionaries in the 1920's, and still does today. However, the regime installed by the friends of the NYT fell, back in the 1990's. So, the NYT is still a good friend to the terrorist revolutionaries, but they are no longer running the Russian State.

Leland said...

The Internet has nothing on the collusion of the Hillary Campaign, Perkins Coie, DOJ, FBI, and MSM when it comes to optimizing mass disinformation.

Narayanan said...

I have seen items about mis-; dis-; mal-; [information]

are they built on baseline of cis-information?

why not have simply : Federal Registry of Cis-Information to be kept updated by daily pronouncements???

n.n said...

Russia has been doing this since October 1917....apparently some people have just caught on.

Marx by way of England. And the worst was a Georgian conception that aligned with transnational special and peculiar interests, and forced Russians to take a knee, beg, good girl under the umbrella of diversity, equity, and inclusion... deja vu.

n.n said...

The cure for disinformation is more information, not less, not curated information.

Signal diversity... not blocs as in race, sex, age, etc., but distribution as in individuals.

n.n said...

The "Russian Revolution" was actually a terrorist coup against the Russian State, and very few of the people involved were Russians. The NYT supported those revolutionaries

The Western-backed Russo Spring and People of Europe (POE)... or is it Asia (POA)?... never again. Then came the Serbian Spring, the Slavic Spring, and so on and so forth, again, and again, and again.

Ambrose said...

Do they talk about Russia's funding of the "green" movement in the West?

bentoak said...

There is such a bewildering diversity of information available now, with no simple, reliable way to discern the false from the true. It leads me to agnosticism.

Jupiter said...

As several other commenters have pointed out, it would appear that the connection between the internet and disinformation is that the internet has made it possible for large numbers of us to learn that what the MSM and our government are telling us is flatly false.

Joe Smith said...

"From "Misdirection, Fake News and Lies: The Best Books to Read on Disinformation"

You'd trust a book like that?

Drago said...

Michael K: "Reagan was reacting to a Soviet propaganda campaign that the US would not risk its own country for a limited Soviet attack on Europe. The answer was to station Intermediate Range Missiles in Europe. The campaign then turned on all nuclear power."

All tbru the 1970's, and particularly during the idiot Carter's administration, the Soviets loaded up Eastern Europe with intermediate nuke missiles: SS-4's, SS-5's, and SS-20's.

Before Reagan won in 1980, NATO had already developed a response plan for intermediate nukes from America to be based in Western Europe. Naturally, the Soviets had no trouble at all finding a bunch of idiots on the left, like gadfly, to protest this American response.

Reagan came up with a Zero Option deal that establishment losers did not want offered. That deal involved the US NOT deploying these missiles in exchange for Soviet removal of their missiles.

Again, our "brilliant" "betters" in the establishment were totally against this...because they are idiots.

By 1987 this Zero Option was the basis for the INF treaty.

Mike Sylwester said...

Finishing my own comment at 11:54:
These analyses will prove that the US Government must spend much more money to collect, analyze and disseminate information about Russian Disinformation, which is a dire threat to US security.

And the Beltway Bandit will get US Government contracts to write such analyses.

Freeman Hunt said...

I love this naive, almost sweet, modern idea that all of us used to live in a Realm of Truth, and it has now been despoiled by the villain Disinformation.

The actual Truth is that the world has always been totally mired in bullshit and ever will be until the end of the age. At times, people have trusted institutions to help them detect the bullshit, but most institutions are going through a phase of not caring about doing that, so nobody trusts them. The institutions might change back and forth, but the mire won't change. Not ever.

Lurker21 said...

Richard Stengel: "I always told my journalists, there aren’t two sides to a lie. Yes, you should be non-partisan, but not neutral. Journalists must be biased in favor of the truth and facts. Biased in favor of democracy itself. We protect the press so the press can protect democracy. Let’s do that."

"Democracy" means the progressive agenda. "Nonpartisan" means reporters shouldn't ever publicly confess which side they are on and support with all they have.

The best defense against disinformation would be a media that relentlessly hunted for the truth. What we have now is a media that peddles an official narrative and doesn't look any deeper into things. The point, for example, is not to find out how safe or reliable the COVID vaccines are, but to defend the vaccines against all challenges or criticism. The media knows the answers before it starts looking, so it doesn't look.

Bunkypotatohead said...

Stengel should ask himself why the institutions he reveres have no more credibility than a Russian troll.
He and his pals lost that by their own actions.

Robert Cook said...

Other nations (Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, etc.) followed the example of the USA's vigorous propaganda machine in creating their own.

Narr said...

Oh Cook, please. The USA invented vigorous propaganda machinery?

And you were doing so well.

SDaly said...

I know you don’t like tag proliferation, but I would suggest a “disinformation bullshit” tag. Of course, you would have to spend a few months re-tagging old posts.