September 18, 2022

To me, the top news is not what Russian troll farms did 5 years ago. It's that the NYT is making that its top news today.

The front page is dominated by "Russian Trolls Helped Fracture the Women's March." Yes, there's also the threat of cruise ships on Lake Superior — blogged in the previous post — and something about James Cameron and Kanye West — as if they needed some man stuff to balance the sea of pussy hats. 


Why take us back to the Women's March? Did they actually learn something new about Russian troll farms? I'm very skeptical of alarmism about Russian troll farms. If we — we individual Americans — can't handle random snark from varied unknown sources, how can we live with the internet? Who cares if some foreigners are writing crap intended to deceive us into feeling more roiled up and divided than we're able to do damned well on our own, often with the nudging of the New York Times? 

Okay, let's read this thing and see if there's anything new in it or if it's just the NYT's latest effort to get its readers fired up to vote for Democrats in the coming election: "How Russian Trolls Helped Keep the Women’s March Out of Lock Step/As American feminists came together in 2017 to protest Donald Trump, Russia’s disinformation machine set about deepening the divides among them."

"Out of Lock Step" — I don't think I've ever seen "lockstep" used in a positive way like that. Saying people are in "lockstep" is generally a putdown, as if people don't have a mind of their own, but are following along in formation, like soldiers under orders. Did the organizers want a march that looked more military and disciplined? I think the pink hats and the common cause created plenty of uniformity, and within that, in America, you want individuality — real women, each with their own story.

But let's read this text, which is by Ellen Barry, a NYT writer who "covers mental health." Well, that makes sense. We're talking about the rearrangement and derangement of minds. But it's kind of paranoid to attribute these mental processes to devious, faceless Russians!!!! Are women so fragile and malleable that snarky words, read on line, are a significant factor in whatever makes them fail to coalesce into one lockstep mass? Without those Russians!!! we'd be a revolution?

This is a long article, and the answer to my questions is nowhere near the top. The first line is: "Linda Sarsour awoke on Jan. 23, 2017, logged onto the internet, and felt sick." So, it's a personal story. I remember the name Linda Sarsour, one of the leaders of the Women’s March. She got talked about on Twitter: "In 15 years as an activist, largely advocating for the rights of Muslims, she had faced pushback, but this was of a different magnitude." So what? She was leading an important march, so she got talked about much more than before. 

But let's worry about the Russians:
More than 4,000 miles away, organizations linked to the Russian government had assigned teams to the Women’s March. At desks in bland offices in St. Petersburg, using models derived from advertising and public relations, copywriters were testing out social media messages critical of the Women’s March movement, adopting the personas of fictional Americans.
I'm not worrying. This is innocuous, predictable, and just the usual bullshit we'll have to navigate if we're going to have the internet.
They posted as Black women critical of white feminism, conservative women who felt excluded, and men who mocked participants as hairy-legged whiners. But one message performed better with audiences than any other. It singled out an element of the Women’s March that might, at first, have seemed like a detail: Among its four co-chairs was Ms. Sarsour, a Palestinian American activist whose hijab marked her as an observant Muslim.

I assume the message "performed better with audiences" because it contained a fact that seemed relevant or worth considering. 

Over the 18 months that followed, Russia’s troll factories and its military intelligence service put a sustained effort into discrediting the movement by circulating damning, often fabricated narratives around Ms. Sarsour....

I'm not sure what "fabricated narratives" refers to. Maybe imagining what her aims and intentions might be. Or does it mean made-up facts about her? The vagueness makes me suspicious about whether there is any real story here. Sarsour led a big march. We have to be able to talk about her. Who cares if Russian chaos-makers participated in what would have been an active, messy conversation anyway? 

One hundred and fifty-two different Russian accounts produced material about her.

So a tiny number. Or is the NYT reader supposed to be aghast at the dimension of this operation? 152! Why isn't it 152 million? 152 sounds like something that one person could create.  

Public archives of Twitter accounts known to be Russian contain 2,642 tweets about Ms. Sarsour....

That's nothing!  2,642 — who cares?! How many tweets about Sarsour came from accounts that were not Russian? We are not told.

The Women's March was, according to the article, a "fragile coalition to begin with," with co-chairs who were associated with Louis Farrakhan. That's a big problem quite apart from Russian troll farmers. But let's talk about Russian troll farmers — "a story that has not been told, one that only emerged years later in academic research." Okay, that suggests there is something new justifying the NYT treatment of this as the top story. This is what I want to know, so let's dig in:

For more than a century, Russia and the Soviet Union sought to weaken their adversaries in the West by inflaming racial and ethnic tensions. In the 1960s, K.G.B. officers based in the United States paid agents to paint swastikas on synagogues and desecrate Jewish cemeteries. They forged racist letters, supposedly from white supremacists, to African diplomats.

Important, though old news. 

They did not invent these social divisions; America already had them. Ladislav Bittman, who worked for the secret police in Czechoslovakia before defecting to the United States, compared Soviet disinformation programs to an evil doctor who expertly diagnoses the patient’s vulnerabilities and exploits them, “prolongs his illness and speeds him to an early grave instead of curing him.”

Again, important, reminding us to be alert about stories that seem to aggravate divisions. 

A decade ago, Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, oversaw a revival of these tactics, seeking to undermine democracies around the world from the shadows.

A decade ago....  

Social media now provided an easy way to feed ideas into American discourse, something that, for half a century, the K.G.B. had struggled to do.... What effect these intrusions had on American democracy is a question that will be with us for years. It may be unanswerable.

That suggests you have nothing new right now. We'll never know the sources of the material we're seeing on the internet. We have to deal with it and keep our bearings as all sorts of people try to sway our minds, Russian or not. 

The article-writer, Barry, concedes that Americans were already politically riled up, and that the divisions "would have been true without Russian interference." But, she says, Russians made "a persistent effort to make all of them worse." 

What were these scary Russians like?

“If they were assigned to write text about refrigerators, they would write about refrigerators, or, say, nails, they would write about nails,” said [Artyom] Baranov, one of a handful of former trolls who have spoken on the record about their activities...

The job was not to put forward arguments, but to prompt a visceral, emotional reaction, ideally one of “indignation,” said Mr. Baranov, a psychoanalyst by training, who was assigned to write posts on Russian politics. “The task is to make a kind of explosion, to cause controversy,” he said.

See? It's part of the NYT "mental health" coverage. Do you think these poor Russians, writing for money, doing what they're told, really came up with important ways to control our emotions?  

When a post succeeded at enraging a reader, [Baranov] said, a co-worker would sometimes remark, with satisfaction, Liberala razorvala. A liberal was torn apart....

Well, at least these poor souls had a spark of humor and little feelings of success in game-playing. And they should exclaim Liberala razorvala about the NYT making their pitiful job into the top scary story of the day. But I'm not "torn apart" by the news of content creators noticing what's getting shared and liked. It's how the internet works. Is it okay to have the internet, or is it just too much for our feeble little minds to handle? 

Feminism was an obvious target, because it was viewed as a “Western agenda,” and hostile to the traditional values that Russia represented, said Mr. Baranov... 

“White feminism seems to be the most stupid 2k16 trend”

“Watch Muhammad Ali shut down a white feminist criticizing his arrogance”

“Aint got time for your white feminist bullshit”

“Why black feminists don’t owe Hillary Clinton their support” 

See? That's all stuff that we need to be able to hear, think about, and deal with, and it doesn't matter whether it came from Russia or from some perfectly ordinary American man. 

They posed as resentful trans women, poor women and anti-abortion women. They dismissed the marchers as pawns of the Jewish billionaire George Soros....

Just remember that people on the internet are not necessarily who they say they are. That's the most basic level of competence. We all have that. It's stupid to get outraged that people are posing as somebody else. That's the way it is. If we can't handle that, we can't have the internet. 

Back to Sarsour. The article has detail about the attacks on her, and, we're told "Russian troll accounts were part of that clamor." Part of. Sarsour used the word “jihad” in a speech, and "To the Russian trolls, it was an opportunity." It was an opportunity to anyone writing on the internet.

The following week, Russian accounts dramatically increased their volume of messaging about Ms. Sarsour, producing 184 posts on a single day, according to Advance Democracy Inc....

So, a tiny number — 184. Or is that supposed to be a huge number? When the item is posts on the internet, I think a number like 184 million might sound like a lot. But 184 you're trying to alarm us about? If we're to be alarmed at 184 posts about Linda Sarsour using the word "jihad," we really don't know how to be on the internet.

It is maddeningly difficult to say with any certainty what effect Russian influence operations have had on the United States, because when they took hold they piggybacked on real social divisions. Once pumped into American discourse, the Russian trace vanishes, like water that has been added to a swimming pool.

That's why it's not "maddening." There's so much speech that the part that's from Russian troll farms doesn't matter. Some of it isn't that different from home-grown speech, and some of it is overwhelmed by better quality speech. I can see that the author Ellen Barry wants to characterize the Russian speech as adding a new or different element that catches on and changes the discourse, but she's identified nothing they've added that's different from the low-level bullshit we make on our own. Is some distinct Russian strain growing here? That sounds more like Cold War Era paranoia than anything happening now. We should wake up and take responsibility for how degraded and divided we've become in America. That Russians are watching, cheering it on, enjoying the chaos, and throwing in little barbs is a distraction. I don't see how it helps to get irked at them.

This creates a conundrum for disinformation specialists, many of whom say the impact of Russian interventions has been overblown.

All right! That's how I feel. 

After the 2016 presidential election, blaming unwelcome outcomes on Russia became “the emotional way out,” said Thomas Rid, author of “Active Measures: The Secret History of Disinformation and Political Warfare.”

Yes! Thank you! 

“It’s playing a trick on you,” said Dr. Rid, a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. “You become a useful idiot if you ignore effective info ops. But also if you talk it up by telling a story, if you make it more powerful than it is. It’s a trick.”...

Yes! Exactly. The astute Dr. Rid is tucked away in the least likely to be read part of the article, but at least he's quoted.

Then the article returns to the story of Linda Sarsour, and finally we're told of some recent scholarship:

Data on Russian messaging around the Women’s March first appeared late last year in an academic journal, where Samantha R. Bradshaw, a disinformation expert at American University, reviewed state interference in feminist movements.

She and her co-author, Amélie Henle, found a pattern of messaging by influential amplifier accounts that sought to demobilize civil society activism, by pumping up intersectional critiques of feminism and attacking organizers.  

Why would Russians want to "demobilize civil society activism"? What's their motivation? Why would they want to help preserve American civil society? Originally, this article was telling us the Russians were sowing discord, but it ends with a scholar who seems to believe the Russians are undermining our own sowers of discord. I don't believe that at all.

ADDED: The NYT wrote "lock step" as 2 words, but it's been one word — "lockstep" — since the mid-1800s. It's also often written with a hyphen — "lock-step."

The OED defines it as: "A marching step in which the toe of one person is brought as close as possible to the heel of the person in front." It's originally a military term, and it would be an incredibly annoying way to move — taken literally — outside of a military context.

But it has an extended or figurative use, as you see in these examples offered by the OED:

1963    New Society 7 Nov. 19/1   The prescribed lock-step of school life.
1972    Business Week 18 Mar. 32/1   The break could occur if Ireland did not follow Britain into the EEC. For the republic marches in an economic lockstep with Britain....
2010 Atlanta Jrnl.-Constitution (Nexis) 30 Apr.  a18   Even the so-called moderates go lock-step with the far right wing. There seems to be no hope for them.


Kevin said...

"Out of Lock Step" — I don't think I've ever seen "lock step" used in a positive way like that.

Lock step, goose step, whatever it takes.

Dear corrupt left, go F yourselves said...

Those Russian trolls get around... esp in the minds of the hive.

Ralph L said...

Don't need no Russians to make women argue with each other.

Leland said...

The January 6th hearings is what fractured the Women's March. Don't believe me? Here is Time on the 2018 Women's March: "They had been demonstrating for weeks, occupying the atrium of Washington, D.C.’s Hart Senate Office Building, flooding phone lines, and confronting wary Senators in airports. But where previous protests had included at most a few hundred hardcore activists, at least a thousand people turned out for Thursday’s demonstration. The protesters were mostly women, who came on 20 buses from around the country."

All that was fine when we had a Republican Congress and President. Yet that same behavior is now labeled an "Insurrection!" by the Democrat Congress and President. They could hold a Women's March in 2022, but it would be too big a reminder heading into the November election of the double standard that exists in the DC courts and DOJ. What to do then? Blame it on Russian Troll Farms, as has been the gambit since 2016.

Kevin said...

Originally, this article was telling us the Russians were sowing discord, but it ends with a scholar who seems to believe the Russians are undermining our own sowers of discord.

Well that's the issue isn't it? Progressivism requires discord, but discord not authorized and controlled Progressives is the surest way to overwhelm and turn the people against Progressive discord.

RideSpaceMountain said...

Lol my sides. Women don't need any help.

Butkus51 said...

"Its the Russians" is the new "Its the Jews"

for everything

holdfast said...

A Pussy Hat Parade was the most ridiculous, self indulgent, tone deaf, SWPL things that I have ever seen.

I know that everyone wants to be Rosa Parks, but as laughable as the modern BLM movement might be, nothing comes close to a bunch of middle class white ladies having a collective tantrum.

Yancey Ward said...

That damn Putin, is there nothing he can't do? Now he's got women arguing with each other.

Gusty Winds said...

They NYT’s has been a propaganda pushing “troll farm” for decades.

The pussy hats alone did enough to divide America. Fits in conjunction with liberal efforts to kill “toxic” masculinity. Plus, they are gross. Can you imagine if the Promise Keepers all wore dickhead hats to one of their mass rallies? It wouldn’t happened because men that attend Promise Keeper events don’t want their daughters dating a guy that would wear a dickhead hat. And, they probably warn their sons about getting involved with a woman that would wear a stupid pussy hat.

But what does this propaganda article say about college educated white women that don the pussy hat?

I think it suggests they are obviously more vulnerable to absorbing and believing propaganda. Keeping them together as a voting bloc in the upcoming midterms is vital for Democrats and the destruction of our country.

wendybar said...

Progressives see RUSSIANS (and white supremacists) everywhere. Everything they bitch about have turned out to be hoaxes. They are so whacked out, people are tuning them out and becoming Independents so they won't be identified as the crazies that the left have become.

Bob Boyd said...

Obviously, we need to get control over this darned internet. We need to get control over what Americans see, hear, read and talk save our democracy and stuff.
We're not talking about censoring you, though. It's those Russians, who everybody hates at the moment. We have to stop Putin.
The NYT is the model for what the internet should look like content-wise.

wendybar said...

AS a woman, I looked upon the Womens march, that refused to let Conservative women in, as a joke. It was a hateful, divisive Progressive womens march. PERIOD.

hombre said...

Russia. Russia. Russia. God help us! They may have disrupted the Pinkpussyhats. LOL!

How? By making them look more absurd than are? Impossible.

Not to worry NYTers, the Hatters are still the intellectual core of the Democrat Party. Even the evil Russians can't change that.

Achilles said...

You spent a lot of time on that garbage article by those garbage people at the NYT's Ann.

Maynard said...

It is hilarious how much the Left loved the Soviet Union back in the day, but now scapegoats everything on the Russians.

narciso said...

wait they know what a woman is now, seriously though what about all the raped and murdered women, since these woke das went on the rampage

Gusty Winds said...

I can't find it on YouTube, probably because it is so obscure. But Saturday Night Live once ran a skit long ago about a family who's genitals were on top of their heads. They had to constantly wear hats to cover them. Anyone else remember that? educated white women who educate America's children...wear genitals on top of their heads...and support puberty blockers and genital mutilation for young kids as a voting bloc.

At one time it was ridiculous comedy. The skit wasn't all that great. But today it a reality.

No wonder the Russians are appalled and want nothing to do with the West.

Dave Begley said...

This makes perfect sense coming from the NYT’s mental health reporter. The Left wants full obedience to its policies. Group think is what they demand. You can’t think for yourself. Dissent must be censored or cancelled.

Plenty of Americans on Twitter attacked Linda (the hypocrite) and the Women’s March. The NYT has to put a sinister Russian face on the opposition.

pacwest said...

The Russians are coming! That one is starting to get a little long in the tooth. I think fascist might still have some legs left though. Better to go with that.

Funny how the Russians can control American discourse with ten guys in a basement, but can't win a war with 100,000 troups.

Bob Boyd said...

One man's troll farm is another man's newspaper of record.

Ampersand said...

Excellent post by AA. The NYT, with its seductive appearances of intelligence and benign intent, will be the vanguard of censorship.

Narr said...

TL;DR. With all due respect I got halfway through Prof's thorough fisking and found myself resenting the time and attention given to this nonsense.

Not a good way to start my Althouse day, but there it is.

I'll read comments, though.

veni vidi vici said...

That coven marching against a sitting US president they called "illegitimate" are what their political party would today casually slur as "insurrectionist fascists".

What a bunch of malarkey.

Does NYT and the establishment media (and in this I do include Hannity, btw) do anything but publish and amplify boob bait for bubbas?

tim in vermont said...

"The problem with the internet is that there aren't any gatekeepers." Hilary Rodham Clinton

Two-eyed Jack said...

Russian troll farms retweeting NYT content would ythe way I'd go if I was wanting to maximize division. "Hey, George Soros is Jewish!" That sort of thing.

retail lawyer said...

What is a "disinformation specialist"? Is that a job title? Where do these specialists work? What makes them smart enough to recognize disinformation?

Dear corrupt left, go F yourselves said...

Note there is never any real evidence provided by the left that these nefarious mind-controlling RUSSIANS are real.

It's now like a laughable catch all to blame RUSSIANS for anything or anyone who dares to oppose the lock-step left.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

This creates a conundrum for disinformation specialists, many of whom say the impact of Russian interventions has been overblown.

It has, especially when you consider how lame their propaganda efforts have been in Ukraine. The American Left has never understood why their opposition doesn't just roll over and play dead when they stomp their feet.

Charlie said...

Those gosh darned Macedonian Content Farmers™, always with the trolling and sowing discord!

Sebastian said...

""Out of Lock Step" — I don't think I've ever seen "lockstep" used in a positive way like that."

It's a gaffe. A good gaffe. Real prog feminists like lockstep, as long people stay locked to the prescribed step. Sisterhood means lockstep.

"I think the pink hats and the common cause created plenty of uniformity, and within that, in America, you want individuality — real women, each with their own story."

What "you want" is irrelevant. We're talking prog politics here, both on the streets and in the NYT. Power for the cause is what matters, not "individuality." Which is overrated in the white-supremacist patriarchal master narrative anyway. Get with the program, Althouse. It's not the sixties anymore.

But if I read this post correctly, it seems Russian trolls introduced more diversity into the movement than American feminists themselves.

Michael K said...

Russian troll farms probably run the NY Times and the DNC. Best explanation I've seen for the idiocy of the present regime. Certainly Putin and the Saudis were funding those pipeline protestors.

Dear corrupt left, go F yourselves said...

"This creates a conundrum for disinformation specialists" - says NYT leftist.

OK - wow - No one can escape that box. So many Disinformation specialists ... lurking about.
Ready to pounce.

Isn't this more of the same WHINING? The left cannot handle any criticism... and if you believe anything negative about any leftist - why, you've BEEN DUPED BY A RUSSIAN SOURCE.

Buckwheathikes said...

The Women's March imploded because people found out it was led by a bunch of New York-based anti-Semitic Islamic socialist terrorists.

How'd people find out about that: Russian Trolls told them.


The reason the NYTimes needs to revisit this is to try to find some other bogeyman to blame it on. So it invents Russian "troll" farms. A "troll" is defined as "anyone who opposes the Democrat Party/NYTimes legislative agenda."

Here's the New York Times from 3 years ago reporting on the ousting of the anti-Semite Palestinian terrorists, led by Linda Sarsour:

mezzrow said...

They say what they mean and mean what they say, if you just dig it out and understand the use of the language like a law professor does. Frightening, isn't it?

If you lockstep (lock step? lock-step?) a bunch of people together real tight like, you could start making borg analogies. How dweeby is that? Good thing nobody takes us seriously, or you'd think we're in danger of something or another. smh

Amadeus 48 said...

When I grow up, I want to work on a troll farm. It sounds close to the earth, and trolls deserve cultivation, don't they? Just like every living thing...except cancer-causing viruses.

Now, gods, stand up for trolls!

Dear corrupt left, go F yourselves said...

The DOJ and the FBI are weaponized like the KGB - to aid the power of certain democrats. That is the truth and much more powerful than any silly bot that tells you "Hillary is a satan"... or some insignificant jerk named Linda Soursour is a Jew hating B.

ooops - is she a Jew hating B?

Lets find out...

Amadeus 48 said...

I been workin' on a chain gang--in lockstep!!

Buckwheathikes said...

"Bob Boyd" said: The NYT is the model for what the internet should look like content-wise.

Yep. You'll notice that the NY Times often eliminates its comment section when it wishes to dictate the agenda. Can't have that pushback, you know.

It has in the past deleted entire comment sections when the commenters disagreed with the NY Times "hot take" on some issue.

They used to be the gatekeepers and they're agitating to be the gatekeepers again. And they'll succeed until they're eliminated in this country. Those who wish to use free speech to advocate for the suppression of free speech are incompatible with our free society and we must eliminate them as surely as we would eliminate a virus.

Joe Smith said...

To the left, women (real women) are just a collection of parts.

It's about control.

And Dems seem to be able to control their goons better than the Rs do theirs...

Drago said...

"Lockstep" is the only mode of operation for the New Soviet Democraticals. Even as exhibited at Althouse blog by all, without exception, Althouse lefties and FakeCon lefties.

The article is a combination of projection and battlespace prep for more "disinformation" claims and control of available content from "undesirable" (non-establishment/lefties) sources, more "fortifying" of our "elections", and more criminalization of any and all opposition.

Further, as an added bonus for our New Soviet Democraticals, it attempts to whitewash the astonishing anti-semitism/anti-Israel-ism of Linda Sarsour and her Louis Farrakhan-backed p****-hat marchers.

You may have noticed how not a single Althouse lefty or fakecon type, like a Howard or gadfly or Inga or readering et al, ever have a single word of criticism for their islamic supremacist allies. You know, the guys that burn gays to death, lop off their heads or throw them off buildings all while tossing acid in school girls faces.

That is no accident. The "Lock-steppin'" is required to be a New Soviet Democratical in good standing.

And all of our lefties are very much "in good standing" in that way.

J Melcher said...

If I may observe the fashions: Red "MAGA" ballcaps have long survived pink knitted "Pussy" beanie-caps.

Does that say more about the politics or the utility of the hats?

Joe Smith said...

There should be another women's march where they all take off their tops to protest the patriarchy.

But only the hot ones..

William said...

I read in the NYT that Apple has a $120 million film on its shelves starring Will Smith and doesn't know what to do with it. Will Smith's reputation has tanked, and there's no telling how people will react upon its release. What to do?....The obvious solution to their problem is to hire a the Russian Troll Farm....If the Russian Troll Farm can discredit the Women's March and Hillary Clinton, how big a problem would it be for them discredit Chris Rock and restore Will Smith to his former glory?

Drago said...

pacwest: "Funny how the Russians can control American discourse with ten guys in a basement, but can't win a war with 100,000 troups."

Once you understand who actually owns a huge swath of the fertile farmland in Ukraine it becomes alot clearer why Putin has been reluctant to unleash larger numbers of troops with more explicit direction to conduct total warfare.

Between the US, EU and some select others, the West owns a huge swath of the resources of the Ukraine. That's whats driving the West to keep the Ukraine fighting to its last man and why we have likely directly inserted US contract and other mercenary groups to lead this counter-offensive along with the full services of the Western intelligence and support.

Saint Croix said...

Ha ha

Althouse (the subscriber!) goes boom on the NYT. Too funny.

One time Some sales rep from the NYT calls me up and tries to get me to subscribe. “Why would I subscribe to the New York Times. I’m in Raleigh.” And she said, “We’re the New York Times. We cover the world!”

That cracks me up because the NYT says the same thing in The Paper, which is an awesome movie that skewers the pomposity of the NYT. The paper in that movie is based on The New York Post (I think). If you want to see a great movie, hillbillies, check it out.

Drago said...

I am also happy to report that our very own Inga-bot accused yours truly of being a russian asset back in 2017.

Of course, I was not unique in being accused of that by our Inga-bot. She was accusing anyone who disagreed with her of being a russian asset. So much of the "you are a russian asset" cachet was, unfortunately, lost.


Readering said...

I wonder why the article byline goes to a reporter on the mental health beat. Signals transfer?

Dear corrupt left, go F yourselves said...

This guy must be a Russian Bot.

Make sure to wash your brain after watching. Or you might bet a knock on the door from the FBI.

Russian Bottitude goes all the way to ... Jake Tapper!

William said...

It wasn't so long ago that the right would blame "outside agitators" on strikes, riots and demonstrations, and the left would claim that these events were reflections of the public will and in response to long simmering discontents.....I understand that there was some USSR funding behind demonstrations in West Germany against the placement of US missiles there. They also gave training and financial support to the Bader Meinhof gang. The left denied that they could ever be dupes of the Soviet Union. Just to make such charges showed how out of touch you were with reality.

Buckwheathikes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Buckwheathikes said...

"Samantha R. Bradshaw, a disinformation expert at American University"

Why is the NY Times outing CIA agents?

Yes, the Russians do in America the exact same thing America does to Russia. But they're better at it. Which pisses the CIA off.

But about those Palestinian terrorists you girls have been pal-ing around with ... let's talk about that first.

The NY Times will connect everything to Russia so that anytime you're opposing the Democrat Party agenda (which is to turn us into Soviet Russia), then they can accuse you of "sounding Holocaust themes" or "echoing the Putin agenda" ... meaningless bullshit accusations they lob at all their political opponents.

The NY Times got this tactic from their friends at the CIA.

Buckwheathikes said...

Joe Smith wrote: "There should be another women's march where they all take off their tops to protest the patriarchy."


Gonna need some eye bleach over here.

Who in their right mind wants to see a bunch of man boobs anyway?

Fred Drinkwater said...

The entire purpose of that article was to get that headline posted. It's confirming or reassuring, in case the NYT readership might be starting to waver in their belief about the true cause of Hillary's defeat.

That's it. So new content is irrelevant, and might in fact be a dustraction.

Jupiter said...

"They posted as Black women critical of white feminism, conservative women who felt excluded, and men who mocked participants as hairy-legged whiners."

Well, I tell you, it could be that there aren't any black women who criticize white feminism, they're all Russian trolls. Those black gals just love it when you poke your sticky, white fingers in their hair! And I could easily believe that very few conservative women were upset about being excluded from an opportunity to appear in public with gaudy representations of their external genitalia on top of their heads. But I can testify that the men who mocked participants as hairy-legged whiners, and worse, much worse, were American, mostly of the red-blooded variety.

William said...

Is there any possibility that The Russian Troll Farm is spreading disinformation about the effectiveness and reach of The Russian Troll Farm. It's in the interests of the Russian Troll Farm to spread discord, and this is a controversial issue. Perhaps Ellen Barry is a Russian asset. All possibilities must be considered.

Amadeus 48 said...

One of my wife's friends skipped the memorial service of a close friend to attend the Chicago version of the Women's March. My wife thinks that the marcher had her priorities seriously disordered.

Big Mike said...

My recollection is that Linda Sarsour tried to get Jewish feminists run out of the March. Russian troll farms didn’t make her do that. That alone was a fracturing.l of the anti-Trump.

Good to see you expressing skepticism, Professor.

Gusty Winds said...

“The Future is Still Female”

Interesting sign the pussy hatted woman is holding in the NYT photo. That was January of 2017. Look where we are today. What does it mean by “still”. Because the future we are now living as a result of what they support, certainly isn’t better than it was before Betsy Rothchild knitted the first pussy hat.

Are we better of in 20022? What have the pussy hatted feminists brought forth for the betterment of all people? I’d imagine there are plenty of pussy hatted women on Martha’s Vineyard. They’re doing pretty well…college educated white women. But are they really interested in better lives for all people?

Can they see the world and country around them? The inner-city neighborhoods where violence, drugs, and murders are rising every day. The poor kids trapped in failing public schools so the pussy hat dominated teachers’ unions can maintain their monopolistic hold on education to protect their pensions. Or the inflation that is sucking the resources and life out of the poor and the middle class. The massive student debt driven by pussy hat wearing administrators that now run America’s universities. The propaganda, the censorship, and freedoms lost to COVID so they could put “stay home, save lives” around their Facebook profile photos. The poison mRNA forcefully injected into children.

They are a powerful force, and the Russians have done a piss poor job countering them.

They are winning. Big time. The Future is here…and it’s pussy hats all the way down.

realestateacct said...

I tweeted about the leftist anti-Israel leadership of the women's march. My grandparents were Russian Jews. I must be part of vast right wing conspiracy to discredit the women's march. And I didn't even know. If the women's march didn't want to be divisive, maybe they shouldn't have excluded all pro-life, Republican or pro-Israel voices and avoided having a terrorist supporting lefty as the face of the march.

Tina Trent said...

Code Pink leaders regularly travelled to South America and Cuba to meet with foreign agitators who rose up through communist movements supported by the Kremlin.

Linda Sarsour openly supports anti-semites and Islamic terrorists. So do the dolt grifters of BLM.

The women’s march, like pretty much all leftist marches, are not about women. They are demoralization campaigns orchestrated by enemies of America through professional agents like Sarsour and Code Pink.

The women and men and minority blocs who participate with know this or are ignorants.

Bruce Hayden said...

It’s now ok to laugh at the pink hatted chicks at the Women’s March. Some of them had the effrontery of getting upset that their movement was preempted and taken over by a bunch of men dressing up like women (and women as men). In the last year, women have lost their own sports, many of their safe spaces, etc. And, yet, they dare not complain, or they might risk more ridicule by the NYT mental health editor.

Never could take this movement seriously - when they allowed Muzzy Supremest Linda Sarsour to share the podium. She didn’t even need a pink pussy hat to join - her male required hijab was all it took. Maybe the most major male supremest religion on the planet. After Biden gave up many billions in arms to the Afghan Islamic fundamentalists last year in his precipitous pullout, women there no longer get to go to school, but instead have to wear black tents when they, rarely, are allowed out of the house. Not exactly the Female Liberation my mother was fighting for 60 years ago, or her ancestresses were fighting for a century earlier.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

So, a tiny number — 184. Or is that supposed to be a huge number?

A huge number of tweets the size of a tiny number of tweets

Tina Trent said...

Holdfast: BLM demanded and received most of the control over the women’s march.

They are equal in their gullibility, but BLM and other ethnic agitators ran and profited from the march. The white ladies are merely self-loathing dupes.

Rory said...

The reason for the article, of course, is to argue that the internet should be censored. That's all.

The internet trolls are direct contact with individuals. For the better part of a century, the Soviet disinformation focused on our intelligentsia in the press, think tanks, universities, bureaucracy by forming committees and funding conferences where they could meet with Soviet agents who would indoctrinate them in the flaws of free societies. The lessons took root, and now we have home-grown communists advancing the ideology, including how it's necessary to keep people from talking freely on the internet.

realestateacct said...

Drago, that's what a Russian troll farmer would say.

Dear corrupt left, go F yourselves said...

I laughed at the rage-fueled pink-hatted Hillary lost butt hurt cult.

But I have 7 Russians under my bed.

Drago said...

Readering: "I wonder why the article byline goes to a reporter on the mental health beat. Signals transfer?"

Because in every single nation where the leftists attain complete political power, they always, without exception, criminalize their political opponents and label them clinically insane.

But only every time. And only everywhere.

Just as the New Soviet Democraticals are working hard to do in the US.

So it makes political sense to have lefty proganda like this one hit the mental health writers desk.

Dear corrupt left, go F yourselves said...

Amadeus - Your Wife must be a Russian Bot.

Buckwheathikes said...

“The Future is Still Female”

Question: How many people do you see wearing pussy-hats just walking down the street?

Now: How many people wear MAGA hats? Not doing MAGA things, just in their regular old life. Doing farmwork or some such?

The future isn't any more female than the entire 30,000 year history of man has been. And one of the reasons is that grown women can be convinced to wear pussy hats. It's really sad that people are telling women they're the future. That's just mean.

J Melcher said...

Do the T sectors of the intersectional LGBTQIA+ movement regard the "Women" of the march as TERFs?

Michael said...

LOL. The Russians control our thought, our elections, thebehavior of our presidents but cant conquer tiny Ukraine.

Lurker21 said...

Just telling the facts about somebody's life is "fabricating a narrative" if you don't like what the facts say about you. I remember hearing the name Linda Sarsour a lot, but don't remember exactly what it was all about. Something to do with the Middle East. Like that isn't already divisive, particularly for the left. Like we don't have people who are willing to spout about Israel and the Palestinians on the internet 24/7 who aren't Russian trolls.

The job was not to put forward arguments, but to prompt a visceral, emotional reaction, ideally one of “indignation,” said Mr. Baranov, a psychoanalyst by training, who was assigned to write posts on Russian politics. “The task is to make a kind of explosion, to cause controversy,” he said.

That is the way to succeed on the internet. It's what we do to each other daily. It's what our own public and private, literal and de facto troll farms, do both to the US and to other countries. We actually did overturn the results of a Ukrainian election, something that the Times may not have bothered to investigate.

The logic is tricky. Wouldn't fomenting disunity in movements that are themselves dividing the country produce unity? I suspect the Russians were playing both sides of the fence. Undercutting the march, but also encouraging it.

Intersectionalism also cuts both ways. It can encourage all "oppressed" groups to unite and fight. It can also touch off attacks on groups that are seen as being more committed to their own advancement than to the supposed common agenda of the oppressed, and that's true even when the Kremlin isn't involved.

I was intrigued by the reference to "Advance Democracy, Inc." mostly because of the "inc." If you want to win over progressives, why the offensive "inc"? It turns out their head has connections to Fusion GPS. They are funded by Silicon Valley, and they definitely have an agenda of their own.

Josephbleau said...

When they make the movie I want to see a shot of the the NYT building facade overlayed with a semi transparent Putin head laughing, perhaps surrounded by flames.

Bob Boyd said...

When I grow up, I want to work on a troll farm.

You got to get behind the mule under the bridge and plow.

n.n said...

Althouse reads between the lines to publish the story behind the story.

Bob Boyd said...

Well, I try my best to be just like I am
But everybody wants you to be just like them
They say "sing while you undermine democracies around the world from the shadows" and I just get bored
I ain't gonna work on Maggie's troll farm no more.

Nicholas said...

"The job was not to put forward arguments, but to prompt a visceral, emotional reaction, ideally one of “indignation,” said Mr. Baranov, a psychoanalyst by training, who was assigned to write posts on Russian politics. “The task is to make a kind of explosion, to cause controversy,” he said."

Sounds like a perfect job description for a NYT editorial writer.

n.n said...

#MeToo was a progressive campaign that divided women.

Political congruence was a progressive campaign that divided women and the Rainbow.

The wicked solution divided women, mothers, and grannies.

How many women wear their pussy hats on their head, in public?

Women, men, and "our Posterity" are from Earth. Feminists are from Venus. Masculinists are from Mars. Social progressives are from Uranus.

Heywood Rice said...


Earnest Prole said...

Shorter version: If it weren’t for those evil Russians, American women would be united marching behind Linda Sarsour.

Blair said...

Here's some Russian interference for ya:

"We know they are lying, they know they are lying, they know we know they are lying, we know they know we know they are lying, but they are still lying.”

Solzhenitsyn understood the NYT.

Iman said...

Q: Whatcha get with a Women’s March and a good rainstorm?

A: WAP hats

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Russian trolls called KGB back in the day financially supported and often directed all the major “environmental” groups since the 1970s including Greenpeace. All of them. They wrote “no blood for oil” and fed it to Democrats. They ginned up antinuclear demonstrations and democrats always followed, took the money and did Moscow’s bidding. Hell it’s ongoing. One of the top FBI guys was put on leave today for investigation of improper ties to Russian oligarchs.

But the Times wants to white knight for pussy hatters. Of course.

Heywood Rice said...

It sure does look like the NYT owns the Althouse blog, living here full time, rent free.

rcocean said...

Great post. And yes the numbers involved are tiny. An obscure post by a conservative blogger will get over 1,000 likes. Rick Wilson ( do you know him?) claims to have 1,500,000 followers. Does anyone care what rick wilson says on twitter? Yet 1.5 MILLION people follow him.

Including 150 Russian "Troll Farmers". No doubt.

Saint Croix said...

Harry Blackmun used to say that his opinion in Roe speaks for all women. Which must have been super annoying to Reagan appointee Sandra Day O’Conner, the first woman on the Supreme Court. She was pro-choice but thought his opinion was shit. Among other reasons, “an abortion free of interference with the state.” According to Harry, doctors had a constitutional right to do abortions in the first trimester, even if women are hurt or killed. It’s truly embarrassing that none of the men noticed that shit. The first woman noticed it. “We got to quit killing women.” The men were like, oh yeah, good catch.” Except Harry. He was like, “who is this Reagan bitch? I speak for all women! And our candle is about to blow out.”

Left Bank of the Charles said...

‘I assume the message "performed better with audiences" because it contained a fact that seemed relevant or worth considering.’

Why assume that? Or is the weasel word “seemed?”

The rule of Lemnity said...

Is there anything Russian trolls 🧌 can’t do?

Wodathunkit. All Elon Musk needs is a Russian troll farm and, as Rh says, the sky is the limit.

Wait. Musk is already up in the sky.

We need a trove of new metaphors.

tim in vermont said...

That slogan came from a lesbian separatist, so any female futue was likely to be short lived.

Critter said...

Russian troll farms - Is there anything they can't do?

Quaestor said...

"...each with their own story."

Why not each with her own story? Are we trying to be inclusive of women who aren't women?

How about women who aren't Democrats, or leftists generally? How can the organizers of "The Women's March", with all their Level 11 bullshit about inclusivity label their inane pussy-hat parade to imply that it represents women?

Quaestor said...

"Women, men, and "our Posterity" are from Earth. Feminists are from Venus. Masculinists are from Mars. Social progressives are from Uranus."

I have proof. Every morning I produce two or three social progressives, sometimes one big one. MSNBC likes to book big social progressives, but they never call mine.

Lucien said...

Early in this post we read of Americans feeling “roiled up” but later someone talks about us being “riled up”.
Who would try to stoke division by using colloquial language this way except. . . A Russian Bot!! J’Accuse!!

Drago said...

Heywood Rice: "It sure does look like the NYT owns the Althouse blog, living here full time, rent free."

Lefties are very very upset that so many people are able to obliterate the left's moronic "arguments" with ease.

Complete control of all social media cant come fast enough for our New Soviet Democraticals.

Heywood no doubt has already phoned in a request for additional "fortifying" against "disinformation" at Althouse blog.

Dear corrupt left, go F yourselves said...

Earnest Prole said..

Shorter version: If it weren’t for those evil Russians, American women would be united marching behind Linda Sarsour.

All those unnecessary whiny words from the NYT. You encapsulated it perfectly.

Dear corrupt left, go F yourselves said...

Earnest Prole said..

Shorter version: If it weren’t for those evil Russians, American women would be united marching behind Linda Sarsour.

All those unnecessary whiny words from the NYT. You encapsulated it perfectly.

Saint Croix said...

NYT says: It's a Pussy Riot!

Saint Croix said...

Pussy Riot! on repeat

gilbar said...

Saying people are in "lockstep" is generally a putdown, as if people don't have a mind of their own

People CANNOT be Allowed, to have minds of their own. Things are Too Important for That
You saying that people should have their own minds, is TRIGGERING!!!
Your OFFENSIVE Language is Threatening me. That is VIOLENCE!!! IT MUST STOP. IT MUST STOP NOW!

MayBee said...

Great post, Althouse.

I sometimes wonder if we are headed to the idea that disinformation is dangerous, and outside actors either creating disinformation or taking advantage of divisions is dangerous to our Democracy so we must not be allowed to have division, or speak what may be declared disinformation. In public spaces, we must all agree. For Democracy.

Leland said...

It sure does look like the NYT owns the Althouse blog, living here full time, rent free.

Actually, she pays to read them, sparing the rest of us. Speaking of NYT rent free, I see its stock was trading at $48 at the beginning of the year and closed below $30 on Friday. So much for your "sick burn".

Saint Croix said...

The Sex Pistols were actually attracted to the Queen. ("They made you a moron. Potential white bum!")

Pussy Riot has serious desire for the President.


Power and politics is a turn-on for these Europeans with S&M fantasies.

The American protestors, meanwhile, seem sexually confused, with their sex parts on top of their heads. They are dressed as if they are pre-pubescent and sex scares them.

American feminist protest has devolved into childish retreat. They are all under age and incapable of consent.

Saint Croix said...

In the future we will all have sex with Blogger.


Saint Croix said...

Blogger you cannot stop Pussy Riot!

Narr said...

"In the future we will all have sex with Blogger."


Who's waiting to do it bloggy-style?

Drago said...

Little known fact: Joe Biden was the most eloquent speaker in world history...until the russian trolls got to him! I mean, the russian and macedonian trolls. Naturally.

It's my understanding "Abraham" Cheney (D - DC/Pelosi/Northern VA) intends to submit articles of impeachment against Trump for his supposed "critical support" of the russian/macedonian troll efforts which led to Joe Biden's unfortunate "stuttering" which causes people to mistake his wonderful eloquence for incredibly stupid and contradictory things.

Adam Schiff claims to have seen "obvious" and "undeniable" and "secret" "proof positive" for these claims and Andrew Weissman will be arguing the nature of the "secret" evidence is such that the court proceedings can ONLY be properly executed by full judicial proceedings secrecy with only Judge Amy Berman Jackson, the prosecutors and Trump himself (without any lawyers) to "ensure" "justice" can be done.

Defense lawyers and juries are not required for this exercise.

Bunkypotatohead said...

Russian troll farmer sounds like something out of a Frank Zappa song.
As if he'd gotten bored of harvesting dental floss with his zircon encrusted tweezers, and moved on to farming something bigger, like Russian trolls.

Gunner said...

It sounds like the Times just admitted that Hate Hoaxes have been going on since at least the 60s.

Bobb said...

"For more than a century, Russia and the Soviet Union sought to weaken their adversaries in the West by inflaming racial and ethnic tensions."

Sounds a lot like the Democrats' playbook. But they've been at it for over 160 years.