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Makonero
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:09 PM)
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President Donald Trump is about to resign as a result of the Russia scandal. Bernie Sanders and Sean Hannity are Russian agents. The Russians have paid off House Oversight Chair Jason Chaffetz to the tune of $10 million, using Trump as a go-between. Paul Ryan is a traitor for refusing to investigate Trump’s Russia ties. Libertarian heroine Ayn Rand was a secret Russian agent charged with discrediting the American conservative movement.

These are all claims you can find made on a new and growing sector of the internet that functions as a fake news bubble for liberals, something I’ve dubbed the Russiasphere. The mirror image of Breitbart and InfoWars on the right, it focuses nearly exclusively on real and imagined connections between Trump and Russia. The tone is breathless: full of unnamed intelligence sources, certainty that Trump will soon be imprisoned, and fever dream factual assertions that no reputable media outlet has managed to confirm.

Twitter is the Russiasphere’s native habitat. Louise Mensch, a former right-wing British parliamentarian and romance novelist, spreads the newest, punchiest, and often most unfounded Russia gossip to her 283,000 followers on Twitter. Mensch is backed up by a handful of allies, including former NSA spook John Schindler (226,000 followers) and DC-area photographer Claude Taylor (159,000 followers).

There’s also a handful of websites, like Palmer Report, that seem devoted nearly exclusively to spreading bizarre assertions like the theory that Ryan and Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell funneled Russian money to Trump — a story that spread widely among the site’s 70,000 Facebook fans.

Beyond the numbers, the unfounded left-wing claims, like those on the right, are already seeping into the mainstream discourse. In March, the New York Times published an op-ed by Mensch instructing members of Congress as to how they should proceed with the Russia investigation (“I have some relevant experience,” she wrote). Two months prior to that, Mensch had penned a lengthy letter to Vladimir Putin titled “Dear Mr. Putin, Let’s Play Chess” — in which she claims to have discovered that Edward Snowden was part of a years-in-the-making Russian plot to discredit Hillary Clinton.

These three — Mensch, Schindler, and Taylor — form a kind of self-reinforcing information circle, retweeting and validating one another’s work on a nearly daily basis. A quick Twitter search reveals hundreds of interactions between the three on the platform in recent months, many of which reach huge audiences on Twitter (judging by the retweet and favorite counts). They’re also reliably boosted by a few allies with large followings — conservative NeverTrumper Rick Wilson, the anonymous Twitter account Counterchekist, and financial analyst Eric Garland (best known as the “time for some game theory” tweetstormer.)

The Palmer Report, and its creator, little-known journalist Bill Palmer, is kind of a popularizer of the Russiasphere. It reports the same kind of extreme, thinly sourced stuff — for instance, a story titled “CIA now says there’s more than one tape of Donald Trump with Russian prostitutes” — often, though not always, sourced to Mensch and company. This seems to personally irk Mensch, who has occasionally suggested the Palmer Report is ripping her off.

Yet nonetheless, Palmer appears to have built up a real audience. According to Quantcast, a site that measures web traffic, the Palmer Report got around 400,000 visitors last month — more than GQ magazine’s website. The Russian prostitute story was shared more than 41,000 times on Facebook, according to a counter on Palmer’s site; another story alleging that Chaffetz was paid off by Trump and Russia got about 29,000.

This stuff is real, and there’s a huge appetite for it.

That’s how the GOP fell for conspiracy thinking during the Obama years. There’s nothing about Democratic psychology that prevents them from doing the same — which means the burden is on Democratic elites to correct it.

Democratic partisans and liberal media outlets are the ones best positioned to push back against this kind of stuff. Rank-and-file Democrats trust them; if they’re saying this stuff is ridiculous, then ordinary liberals will start to think the same thing. Even if they just ignore it, then the Russiasphere will be denied the oxygen necessary for it to move off of Twitter and into the center of the political conversation.

“Scrutiny from trusted media sources and criticism from allied elites can help discourage this kind of behavior,” Nyhan says. “It won’t suppress it — there are always places it can go — but on the margin, allies can help limit the spread of conspiracy theorizing inside their party.”

So that’s the key question going forward: Will the mainstreaming of the Russiasphere speed up — and birth something like a Breitbart of the left? If so, it’ll create an environment where the people most willing to say the most absurd things succeed, pulling the entire Democratic Party closer to the edge — and leaving liberals trapped in the same hall of mirrors as conservatives.


Read the rest here.


I see this stuff retweeted on twitter and then minutes later debunked. Gotta have multiple sources to stay truly informed.
Pryce
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:10 PM)
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I see people on here falling for it constantly. Just like Republicans (when it came against Hillary or Obama), some people are so eager for collusion they'll believe anything.
NexusCell
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:12 PM)
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Mensch, Schindler, and Taylor

Lol, the moment I read the title I knew this article would be about them.
shamanick
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:12 PM)
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Louise Mensch retweet = unfollow
Trojita
Rapid Response Threadmaker
(05-19-2017, 08:12 PM)
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Nowhere near as widespread.

Twitter continues to be awful.
grumble
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:13 PM)

Originally Posted by Pryce

I see people on here falling for it constantly. Just like Republicans (when it came against Hillary or Obama), some people are so eager for collusion they'll believe anything.

There is a seed of truth to these assertions but the big scandal is fantasy.
belmonkey
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:13 PM)
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Wasn't there a comparison somewhere of amount of Conservative fake news vs Liberal fake news? And it was ~twice as much Conservative fake news?
Wet Bloodfart
Junior Member
(05-19-2017, 08:13 PM)
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I've definitely fallen for it. Gonna unfollow Taylor. Progressives have to be better than this.
cackhyena
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:13 PM)
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Who would fall for that horseshit? Jesus.
EatinOlives
Harass A Bull?
Report to HR.
(05-19-2017, 08:13 PM)
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Twitter is the Russiasphere’s native habitat. Louise Mensch, a former right-wing British parliamentarian and romance novelist, spreads the newest, punchiest, and often most unfounded Russia gossip to her 283,000 followers on Twitter. Mensch is backed up by a handful of allies, including former NSA spook John Schindler (226,000 followers) and DC-area photographer Claude Taylor (159,000 followers).

I hope we can stop freely posting Mensch/Taylor/Schindler trash on GAF. It's really not helping matters when threads get derailed for pages at a time with people arguing that no man, these are totes legit sources, just don't pay attention to the fact that they haven't had the time to corroborate anything before posting it!
Real Hero
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:13 PM)
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Originally Posted by shamanick

Louise Mensch retweet = unfollow

Yeah, as someone from the UK I was shocked when I saw people taking her seriously on this stuff. She is off her rocker.
Slime
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:14 PM)
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Originally Posted by NexusCell

Lol, the moment I read the title I knew this article would be about them.

GAF should really ban links to their Twitter accounts.
Kickz
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:14 PM)
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Man things are getting out of hand
gutshot
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:14 PM)
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Even Keith Olbermann has been retweeting Mensch and Taylor's stuff of late. I really hope this kind of stuff doesn't become common place amongst the progressives on Twitter.
kirblar
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(05-19-2017, 08:14 PM)
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Originally Posted by grumble

There is a seed of truth to these assertions but the big scandal is fantasy.

It's definitely widening past the Trump campaign. That's true. But they just make details and random shit up on top of that.
FZZ
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:14 PM)
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Yeah nah

there isn't a democrat subreddit filled with hundreds of thousands of people actively putting their hands over their ears refusing to believe news coming out about the orange fuckstick while grasping at conspiracy theories that have no value

Vox is reaching
Last edited by FZZ; 05-19-2017 at 08:17 PM.
Stopdoor
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:14 PM)
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You can post on GAF with an explosive headline but more subtle details in the actual source like the "Trump is under criminal investigation" one, and at least half the comments will just be equivalents of "BOOM!". I'm not so surprised now how "fake news" is effective, really.
epmode
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:14 PM)
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Mensch sucks. Stop sourcing her, GAF. Don't recognize the other two.
TheLostBigBoss
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:14 PM)
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If fake news can win an election for them, then fuck it, it can win an election for us!

this is sarcasm
KingK
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(05-19-2017, 08:14 PM)
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Originally Posted by NexusCell

Lol, the moment I read the title I knew this article would be about them.

Yup. Getting tired of people posting from those idiots on Twitter in all the Russia threads. Honestly, I hate people citing Twitter as news in general.

Really, I think I just hate Twitter
Cymbal Head
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:15 PM)
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Despite what smug Democrats will tell you about the rubes on the other side, everybody's vulnerable to the lure of tribalism and cognitive bias.
lazygecko
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:15 PM)
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I don't really see this kind of fake news as some hyper-partisan conspiracy mongering so much as at being part of a wider trend of super cynical cash-grabs mutated out of the click-based ad revenue industry. Doubt the kind of people writing these stories, like those Macedonian kids, really have any ideological drive behind it rather than just brazenly exploiting hot topics that have been proven to rapidly generate traffic.
norm9
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:15 PM)
So what the article is saying is that people are clicking on clickbait?
Nafai1123
dirty Netflix p00rs!
breathing my air
(05-19-2017, 08:15 PM)
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Plenty of real news on Russia. No need to fall for fake bullshit.
Viewt
Men, listen up!
(05-19-2017, 08:16 PM)
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Yeah, sometimes I see people post shit on Facebook, and I'm like, "Holy shit, did I miss something?" And then I read the URL and it's "TROONOOS.NET" or some shit. For fuck's sake, people. Have we really learned nothing from the election?
Veitsev
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(05-19-2017, 08:16 PM)
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Well yeah and I hope at least on GAF people stop posting the trash that people like Mensch spew.

Still absolutely no comparison to what is going on with the right. A few people on twitter and a handful of websites isn't Fox News, Breitbart, and right wing radio.

Call me when liberals shoot up a pizza place falsely accused of a child sex ring involving Clinton in a basement that doesn't exist on this plane of reality.
jay
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:16 PM)
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How do we know this Vox article isn't a Russian smokescreen?
lobdale
3 ft, coiled to the sky
(05-19-2017, 08:16 PM)
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They misspelled idiots as Democrats
TheLostBigBoss
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:16 PM)
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Originally Posted by Nafai1123

Plenty of real news on Russia. No need to fall for fake bullshit.

Yea, this. If someone is claiming that literally everyone is about to get arrested, they are full of shit "cough"Mensch"cough"
gimmmick
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:16 PM)
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An informed democratic voter already has a subscription to either the NYT or WP (or both).
The Lone Courier
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:16 PM)
Even seen a bit of gaf falling for it.
TheBryanJZX90
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:17 PM)
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If you want to feel superior because you're​ educated and you voted for the candidate that got more votes from educated people, you gotta act like it.
Hollywood Duo
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(05-19-2017, 08:17 PM)
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Originally Posted by lobdale

They misspelled idiots as Democrats

They aren't mutually exclusive
Hindl
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:17 PM)
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This one goes out to all the people in the various Comey threads saying "Well Mensch and Taylor broke some things ahead of mainstream news! Why can't we take them seriously?"
Dirca
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(05-19-2017, 08:17 PM)
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The other threads on the investigation have exceeded toxic levels of hopium. Trump, Pence, et. al. have been found guilty, tried, and convicted by many on gaf based off of "people" and "sources" found in various news outlets. I'm not saying that there isn't something going on, but I refuse to jump to conclusions like everyone else has. It's all speculation at this point. I believe the IC won't be able to pin anything on Trump, just a gut feeling. Do I think shenanigans have taken place? Yes, I think so, but I'm not going to start making accusations yet.
Astral/H3X
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:18 PM)
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Oh thank God, that means I'm not one of the crazy ones.

Always gotta wonder if you're the one falling for stupid shit, but seeing this, I'm good.
Prost
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:18 PM)
President Donald Trump is about to resign as a result of the Russia scandal. Bernie Sanders and Sean Hannity are Russian agents. The Russians have paid off House Oversight Chair Jason Chaffetz to the tune of $10 million, using Trump as a go-between. Paul Ryan is a traitor for refusing to investigate Trump’s Russia ties. Libertarian heroine Ayn Rand was a secret Russian agent charged with discrediting the American conservative movement.

Er, I haven't seen a single one of those mentioned here on GAF or my FB. So I'm thinking it's not nearly as widespread as the right wing crazy conspiracies.
Dyle
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(05-19-2017, 08:18 PM)
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It amazes me that anyone takes any of these sources at face value when there are so many bombs coming out of the NYT and WaPo and other credible organizations. I've had to block a couple friends on Facebook due to them spamming stuff from Occupy Democrats, Coffee Party, etc.
Maxim726X
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(05-19-2017, 08:19 PM)
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Originally Posted by cackhyena

Who would fall for that horseshit? Jesus.

Most people here, it seems, as I see Mensch retweeted in every single Trump thread.
cdyhybrid
(05-19-2017, 08:19 PM)
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Believe random shit on Twitter brehs
Veritigo_X
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:19 PM)
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Wow

Vox = Russian media confirmed

How long until Mensch tweets something like this?
Veitsev
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:19 PM)
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Originally Posted by belmonkey

Wasn't there a comparison somewhere of amount of Conservative fake news vs Liberal fake news? And it was ~twice as much Conservative fake news?

Both sides though.
Graphics Horse
graphics horse
graphics horse
does whatever a
graphics horse does
(05-19-2017, 08:20 PM)
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Of all things I'm not sure why that claim from a BBC correspondent about multiple videos is used an example.
PSY・S
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:21 PM)

President Donald Trump is about to resign as a result of the Russia scandal. Bernie Sanders and Sean Hannity are Russian agents. The Russians have paid off House Oversight Chair Jason Chaffetz to the tune of $10 million, using Trump as a go-between. Paul Ryan is a traitor for refusing to investigate Trump’s Russia ties. Libertarian heroine Ayn Rand was a secret Russian agent charged with discrediting the American conservative movement.

Not once have I heard of these and I've been following this thing closely.
jay
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(05-19-2017, 08:23 PM)
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Originally Posted by cdyhybrid

Believe random shit on Twitter brehs

That would be foolish. Believe things that confirm what you already think regardless of the source.
Kaban
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:24 PM)
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I've been thinking about this recently, how receptive each side is to 'fake news' as long as it follows their narrative. Always check your sources. It happened last week with that stupid "Sean Spicer wore two different shoes" story. Even NYT, which I respect in general, mislead readers with those Super Bowl attendance photos, though at least they issued a correction.
Veitsev
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(05-19-2017, 08:26 PM)
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Facebook has nearly 2 billion active users.

Yet nonetheless, Palmer appears to have built up a real audience. According to Quantcast, a site that measures web traffic, the Palmer Report got around 400,000 visitors last month — more than GQ magazine’s website. The Russian prostitute story was shared more than 41,000 times on Facebook, according to a counter on Palmer’s site; another story alleging that Chaffetz was paid off by Trump and Russia got about 29,000.

This stuff is real, and there’s a huge appetite for it.

41,000 and 29,000 shares is a huge appetite?
def sim
Member
(05-19-2017, 08:26 PM)
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It's made reading some of the threads here difficult. Especially since they've become incredibly indignant towards anybody not wanting that nonsense here.
Rentahamster
Rodent Whores
(05-19-2017, 08:27 PM)
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I've been telling you guys this for at least a year now.
Mr.Shrugglesツ
Junior Member
(05-19-2017, 08:27 PM)
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I like the timing of this thread.

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