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Russia's propaganda machine discovers 2020 Democratic candidate Tulsi Gabbard.

 
 
Reply Sat 29 Jun, 2019 07:33 pm
Russia's propaganda machine discovers 2020 Democratic candidate Tulsi Gabbard.


Published February 2, 2019


Quote:
The Russian propaganda machine that tried to influence the 2016 U.S. election is now promoting the presidential aspirations of a controversial Hawaii Democrat who earlier this month declared her intention to run for president in 2020.

An NBC News analysis of the main English-language news sites employed by Russia in its 2016 election meddling shows Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who is set to make her formal announcement Saturday, has become a favorite of the sites Moscow used when it interfered in 2016.

Several experts who track websites and social media linked to the Kremlin have also seen what they believe may be the first stirrings of an upcoming Russian campaign of support for Gabbard.

Since Gabbard announced her intention to run on Jan. 11, there have been at least 20 Gabbard stories on three major Moscow-based English-language websites affiliated with or supportive of the Russian government: RT, the Russian-owned TV outlet; Sputnik News, a radio outlet; and Russia Insider, a blog that experts say closely follows the Kremlin line. The CIA has called RT and Sputnik part of "Russia's state-run propaganda machine."

All three sites celebrated Gabbard's announcement, defended her positions on Russia and her 2017 meeting with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, and attacked those who have suggested she is a pawn for Moscow. The coverage devoted to Gabbard, both in news and commentary, exceeds that afforded to any of the declared or rumored Democratic candidates despite Gabbard's lack of voter recognition.

Gabbard was mentioned on the three sites about twice as often as two of the best known Democratic possibilities for 2020, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, each with 10 stories. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren had fewer. In each case, the other contenders were treated more critically than Gabbard, with headlines like "'Don't Run': Vermont Paper Begs Bernie Sanders Not to Seek US Presidency in 2020" and "Sexist much? Biden blames 'conservative blonde woman' for shutdown, 'forgets' Ann Coulter's name."

"Her promulgation of positions compatible with Russian geo strategic interests can help them mainstream such discussion in the [Democratic] party," said Alex Stamos, former chief security officer at Facebook and now an NBC News analyst. Gabbard, said Stamos, helps them with all their "lines of attack."

A major in the Hawaii Army National Guard who served two tours in Iraq, Gabbard was first elected to Congress in 2012 and represents the out islands and northern Oahu. She attracted attention as a maverick when she resigned as Democratic National Committee vice chair in early 2016 and endorsed Bernie Sanders. She gave his nominating speech at that summer's party convention.

While some of her stances appeal to the left, she has also angered the party's liberal base with her past positions on same sex marriage, abortion and guns. Just weeks after Donald Trump's upset victory over Hillary Clinton, she met with the president-elect at Trump Tower.

But Gabbard's most controversial position and the one where she's most in line with Russian interests is on Syria. She's accused the U.S. of pushing a policy of "regime change" wars and in January 2017, she met with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in Syria on what she called a "fact-finding mission."

RT began defending Gabbard as soon as she announced. A behavioral science expert who studies social media tweeted out a vow on Jan. 11 to start a GoFundMe campaign to finance a reporting trip to Gabbard's Hawaii district. Reporters for RT's television network pounced, calling it "an investigative vacation" and a "beachside investigation" by an "establishment Democrat."

On Jan. 12, the day after Gabbard announced, RT headlined her decision this way: "'Putin puppet' vs 'Assad shill': Dems & Reps unite in panic over Gabbard challenging Trump in 2020."

The unsigned article claimed, "With Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) entering the 2020 presidential fray, establishment figures on both Right and Left are scrambling to smear the anti-war congresswoman with impeccable identity-politics bona fides. Ever since her 2017 visit to Syria, Gabbard has been condemned for daring to seek firsthand accounts rather than blindly trusting the MSM narrative, so on Friday the pundits were again off to the races, with fresh accusations of Assad-sympathizing."

On Jan. 16, Lee Stranahan, one of the co-hosts on "Fault Line," a Washington-based program on Sputnik News, admitted that the debates should be the focus for Gabbard.

"The significant thing about her being in the race is because one of her main issues is peace and specifically on Syria, where she is telling the truth on Syria," said Stranahan, who joined Sputnik after stints at Breitbart News, the right-wing news site. "I think she is going to change the debate. If she can get through the first few months, and make it to actual debates, is there a big millionaire or billionaire that will support Tulsi Gabbard."

The same day, conservative writer Hunter Derensis noted on Russia Insider, "In line with her thinking on Syria, she lacks the anti-Russian stance of other Democratic politicians. 'How does going to war with Russia over Syria serve the interest of the American people?' she mentioned in a tweet. Gabbard has also supported Trump's diplomatic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in one of her multiple appearances with Tucker Carlson."

That story was headlined, "Heroic Tulsi Gabbard Will Run on Her Sensible Foreign Policy. Expect Democrats, Faux Progressives to Squeal."

In articles on the Russian sites, Gabbard is described as a "rebel," who is "straight-talking" and a "heroic" candidate who will "shake up" the establishment.

Coverage of other Democratic presidential hopefuls in pro-Kremlin media has been for the most part perfunctory, limited to candidates' announcements or summaries of their relative prospects. In recent weeks, Sputnik has poked fun at Elizabeth Warren's beer commercial and a widely circulated photo of Beto O'Rourke's in a dentist chair.

Erika Tsuji, a spokeswoman for Gabbard, said it as "ridiculous" to suggest the Russians supported her candidacy.

"Russia would never overtly support a candidate they wanted to help, because it would just hurt their candidacy," said Tsuji. "It’s common sense."

Tsuji also said that "From the start, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has denounced Russia's attempts to muddle (sic) in our elections and will continue to do so." She noted that Gabbard had cosponsored legislation calling for an independent investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, cosponsored a bill prohibiting foreign influence in the election process, and sponsored a bill to protect election infrastructure from hackers.

The race for 2020

Experts in Russian on-line propaganda say Gabbard appeals to pro-Russian sites because her positions —and her appeal as an outsider in her own party — can be used to create division among Democrats.

Former FBI agent Clint Watts, author of "Messing with the Enemy: Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians, and Fake News," said Gabbard has past or present positions on several issues that would be attractive to the Russian propaganda machine, and she is already popular with the U.S. "alt-left." Besides her views on Syria, she responded to reports of Russian interference in the 2016 election by saying the U.S. had interfered in foreign elections too.

The language used to laud Gabbard is reminiscent of Russian media promotion of Jill Stein, the U.S. Green Party candidate for president in 2012 and 2016. Stein received favorable coverage from the same outlets and also benefited from Russian troll accounts.

Watts notes the difference between Stein and Gabbard is that Gabbard is member of Congress and part of the Democratic Party while Stein is more of a fringe figure. Watts and Stamos think the Russians may be gravitating to Gabbard not because they think she can win, but because her positions, often in line with those of the Kremlin, will become part of the Democratic primary debates.

"They probably just spotted her and figured this is someone to promote," said Watts, who is also an NBC News analyst. "You can just see it coming. They're telegraphing what coming the next two years, which is playing in the left."

"They want someone like Gabbard to voice a Russian position. They are not telling her what to say but they want her pro-Russian positions play into the debate."

Stamos agrees that Gabbard could be used to inject pro-Russian positions into the Democratic Party's discussions and debates during primary season.

"We should expect the Russian intel services and troll farms to be active in the Democratic primary process," said Stamos, "as this provides them with the best opportunity to create the most division in American society in 2020."

The first Democratic primary is a year away, and the Russian disinformation machine has not yet initiated a full 2016-style campaign of support for any of the 2020 aspirants. In 2016, negative coverage and fabricated stories about Hillary Clinton were amplified by a huge network of fake social media accounts and bots.

Experts who track inauthentic social media accounts, however, have already found some extolling Gabbard's positions since she declared.

Within a few days of Gabbard announcing her presidential bid, DisInfo 2018, part of the cybersecurity firm New Knowledge, found that three of the top 15 URLs shared by the 800 social media accounts affiliated with known and suspected Russian propaganda operations directed at U.S. citizens were about Gabbard.

Analysts at New Knowledge, the company the Senate Intelligence Committee used to track Russian activities in the 2016 election, told NBC News they've spotted "chatter" related to Gabbard in anonymous online message boards, including those known for fomenting right-wing troll campaigns. The chatter discussed Gabbard's usefulness.

"A few of our analysts saw some chatter on 8chan saying she was a good 'divider' candidate to amplify," said Renee DiResta, director of research at New Knowledge.

Josh Russell, a researcher and "troll hunter" known for identifying fake accounts, similarly told NBC News he recently spotted a few clusters of suspicious accounts that retweeted the same exact text about Gabbard, mostly neutral or slightly positive headlines.

"They usually spam links to websites, but also retweet specific tweets or accounts in an effort to boost a website or accounts search results," he said.

Gabbard is expected to make the formal announcement of her candidacy on Saturday in Hawaii. On Tuesday, however, Politico reported that her campaign manager is already set to leave. Tsuji subsequently denied to the Daily Mail that the campaign is in turmoil, and said Gabbard will make her announcement on Saturday as planned.

Gabbard may also have to fight to keep her House seat in heavily Democratic Hawaii. A state senator has announced he will challenge her in the primary, and a prominent liberal group has endorsed him.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/russia-s-propaganda-machine-discovers-2020-democratic-candidate-tulsi-gabbard-n964261
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Type: Discussion • Score: 10 • Views: 1,034 • Replies: 41

 
coldjoint
 
  -2  
Reply Sat 29 Jun, 2019 07:50 pm
February? Has Russia changed their minds or the MSM doesn't think it is worth pursuing? Gabbard will not be the nominee so no one cares.
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 29 Jun, 2019 10:36 pm
@Real Music,
So what? You've got to admit she has a cute name.
0 Replies
 
Real Music
 
  4  
Reply Sat 29 Jun, 2019 11:44 pm
@coldjoint,
Quote:
February? Has Russia changed their minds or the MSM doesn't think it is worth pursuing?
Gabbard will not be the nominee so no one cares.

Experts in Russian on-line propaganda say Gabbard appeals to pro-Russian sites because her positions —and her appeal as an outsider in her own party — can be used to create division among Democrats.


https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/russia-s-propaganda-machine-discovers-2020-democratic-candidate-tulsi-gabbard-n964261
0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Jun, 2019 05:49 am
I like Tulsi. This seems like anti-Tulsi propaganda due to her NoMoreWars commitment.
Brand X
 
  2  
Reply Sun 30 Jun, 2019 07:06 am
This is one of the flimsy knocks on Tulsi. Anyone who has listened to her real positions knows she has a solid stance on wars and who the enemies are.
0 Replies
 
Baldimo
 
  -2  
Reply Tue 2 Jul, 2019 03:11 pm
@Lash,
She seems like the most center candidate on the left, nothing extreme about her policies. That's the reason the left leaning media are going to really push for this Russia story, they used it in 2018 to discredit candidates, they will use it again in 2019 and 2020 to smear Gabbard. It's so transparent what they are doing.
0 Replies
 
Real Music
 
  3  
Reply Wed 14 Aug, 2019 09:28 pm
Tulsi Gabbard Is Having A MAGA Moment
After Her Debate Performance.


Published June 27, 2019

Quote:
MIAMI — Among some conservative pundits there was one clear winner of Wednesday night’s Democratic primary debate: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the long-shot, anti-war Hawaii member of Congress.

More than any other Democratic candidate, Gabbard has developed a favorable presence in the right-wing media. She’s made appearances from time to time on Fox News shows like Tucker Carlson Tonight, and her unorthodox candidacy has attracted praise from those farther to the right as well. Gabbard has been controversial; she has apologized for holding anti-gay views in the past, including onstage during the debate, and she has been heavily criticized for meeting with the brutal Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and for questioning whether his regime carried out chemical weapons attacks. But Wednesday night, she appeared to cement her status as the very online right’s favorite Democratic candidate.

On Wednesday night, Matt Drudge, the reclusive Drudge Report impresario, tweeted that Gabbard had won his site’s online debate poll. As of Thursday afternoon, Gabbard was featured on the top left of the Drudge Report, with several linked headlines like “SHOCK: GABBARD WINS FIRST DEBATE POLL…” and “AND SHE IS MOST SEARCHED NAME DURING DEBATE.”

Breitbart News devoted a lot of its debate coverage to Gabbard, writing several articles about her. Breitbart writer Joel Pollak livestreamed his exchange with Gabbard in the spin room after the debate, the only candidate who got that treatment.

The Drudge straw poll has you winning by far,” he asked her. “What was it that carried it for you?”

Gabbard gave a vague answer, beginning “I’m grateful to have had this opportunity here tonight to present who I am and why I’m running for president to the American people,” and Pollak asked her about a testy exchange she had with Rep. Tim Ryan over the war in Afghanistan. Pollak told Gabbard she “crushed” Ryan’s position and asked her “how the exchange felt.”

Pollak didn’t respond to a request for comment. “Joel just showed up as part of the gaggle,” Gabbard spokesperson Cullen Tiernan said in an email.

Gabbard’s sister tweeted from Gabbard’s account during the debate that the moderators were ignoring the candidate — “It’s clear who MSNBC wants to be president: Elizabeth Warren. They’re giving her more time than all the other candidates combined. They aren’t giving any time to Tulsi at all.” Breitbart News wrote the tweet up and tweeted, “The slow-motion coronation has begun.”

“The strategy is to speak with every single American because we all pay the price for decades of US failed interventionist foreign policy — not just Democrats,” Gabbard said in a statement to BuzzFeed News sent by a spokesperson. As for her sister’s tweet attacking MSNBC, she said “Look she’s my little sister — she was watching it live, and came to my defense as sisters do! I was on the stage so of course I wasn’t aware.”

For some on the right, the sole draw of Gabbard is her anti-interventionist worldview, which appeals to libertarians. “I actually think Andrew Yang probably has more appeal in some corners of the right than Tulsi,” said Andy Surabian, a Republican strategist and adviser to Donald Trump Jr., “For Tulsi the only real appeal I see is on the foreign policy side. She’s a committed non-interventionist in the Ron Paul mode, she appeals to some corners of the libertarian and populist right.”

Surabian suggested that she may have gotten on the radar of some swathes of the online right due to an interview she did with podcast host Joe Rogan, whose show has an enormous fanbase and who has often interviewed people from the political fringes.

He also pointed out that Gabbard’s almost singular focus on foreign policy and anti-interventionism means she talks about social issues less than the other candidates, making her easier to accept for those on the right. “Some also appreciate that she’s not obsessed or doesn’t seem to be obsessed with identity politics,” he said.

She’s been on Trump world’s radar for years. Former Breitbart News chair and Trump official Steve Bannon reportedly brokered a meeting between Gabbard and then-president elect Donald Trump after the 2016 election, and recent leaked documents showed that the Trump transition team had vetted her for an administration position.

Mike Cernovich, the new right social media personality, tweeted Wednesday night about the increase in Google searches for Gabbard, writing, “Tulsi Gabbard was breakthrough star of the night.”

“It’s hard to explain but she has a good energy, a certain dignity to her that’s absent in the rest of the field,” Cernovich said in an interview Thursday. He said he found her views on foreign policy appealing, and said he knew many who felt even more warmly toward her. “I think a lot of people would vote for her over Trump,” he said. MAGA people.” Despite this, Cernovich said Gabbard hadn’t done any outreach to his cohort.

“I’m sure it’s a tricky predicament for her,” he said.

Right-wing commentator Ann Coulter, who tweeted “Go Tulsi!” after Gabbard tussled with Ryan over Afghanistan onstage during the debate, said she watched the debate with a liberal and a moderate on Wednesday and all three preferred Gabbard over the rest of the field. “It’s really astounding that Tulsi is the only Democrat running frontally and unambiguously as anti-war,” Coulter wrote in an email, calling the Democrats “as relentless a war party as the Republicans at their worst. Only more feckless.” Asked if she would consider voting for Gabbard either during the Democratic primary or even in the general election against President Trump if she won the nomination, Coulter replied “possibly both.”

Not every Gabbard fan on the right is willing to praise her publicly. “She feasted on [Tim] Ryan, we love her,” said one prominent conservative who refused to talk about Gabbard on the record for fear of hurting her candidacy.

According to a Fox News source, Gabbard is scheduled to appear on Tucker Carlson’s show Thursday night.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/rosiegray/tulsi-gabbard-maga-debate
0 Replies
 
Real Music
 
  3  
Reply Sun 6 Oct, 2019 10:21 am
Russia's 2016 cyber tactics, explained.

Russian trolls and hackers targeted social media networks, political organizations and state election systems during the 2016 election.

Published November 2, 2017

0 Replies
 
Lash
 
  1  
Reply Sun 6 Oct, 2019 10:28 am
Twitter is speculating on which candidate Tulsi will engage critically during the next debate.

All signs point to Warren.
Baldimo
 
  -2  
Reply Wed 9 Oct, 2019 12:40 pm
@Lash,
Let us hope that Google doesn't play any more games with her, and people can actually look her up and then she will get some good support. The left has to cheat to beat.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7286753/Tulsi-Gabbard-SUES-Google-claiming-advertising-account-suspended-post-debate-boost.html
revelette1
 
  3  
Reply Wed 9 Oct, 2019 01:24 pm
@Lash,
Bring her on. Warren can take her.
0 Replies
 
hightor
 
  3  
Reply Wed 9 Oct, 2019 02:14 pm
@Baldimo,
Quote:
'Google's discriminatory actions against my campaign are reflective of how dangerous their complete dominance over internet search is, and how the increasing dominance of big tech companies over our public discourse threatens our core American values,' Ms. Gabbard said in a statement. 'This is a threat to free speech, fair elections, and to our democracy, and I intend to fight back on behalf of all Americans.'

An algorithm suspended the account for 6 hours. Which means that anyone who wanted to do a search on her the next day would have had no problem. And if anyone really thinks she'd have had a chance to break out of the pack they're just fooling themselves. She always was a long shot.
Baldimo
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 9 Oct, 2019 02:17 pm
@hightor,
Keep giving them an excuse to limit the reach of people you won't vote for...
hightor
 
  2  
Reply Wed 9 Oct, 2019 02:22 pm
@Baldimo,
Oh, so you think it's some sort of conspiracy — "Gee, this Gabbard's a real threat — let's shut down her page until everyone forgets about her. Six hours ought to be enough."
Baldimo
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 9 Oct, 2019 03:06 pm
@hightor,
She's the only sane sounding Dem running in the race, with her gone, the rest of them sound normal and not crazy. Face it, the DNC has taken a hard left turn into anti-Americanism.
hightor
 
  3  
Reply Wed 9 Oct, 2019 03:38 pm
@Baldimo,
Quote:
Face it, the DNC has taken a hard left turn into anti-Americanism.

There you go again! The DNC has nothing to do with it. That's why Lash and edgarblythe have criticized the DNC and accused it of sabotaging "progressives".

But I'll agree that the field is not particularly promising. I imagine whoever the winner is will tack toward the center before next November. I find the primary process very objectionable; I don't think we get the best candidates by letting the activists pick the candidate who will be sure to turn off the most independents.

I haven't noticed this "anti-Americanism" you speak of, however.
0 Replies
 
hightor
 
  1  
Reply Sun 13 Oct, 2019 02:39 am
What, Exactly, Is Tulsi Gabbard Up To?

As she injects chaos into the 2020 Democratic primary by accusing her own party of “rigging” the election, an array of alt-right internet stars, white nationalists and Russians have praised her.

nyt/lerer
Lash
 
  0  
Reply Sun 13 Oct, 2019 02:49 am
@hightor,
Liz Warren, Donna Brazile, and anybody with an ounce of truth in them also admitted the Clinton campaign rigged the 2016 primary.

The mere fact that some alt rights liked her isn’t her crime. If she has committed some crime, you should be able to name it.

More centrist laziness.

glitterbag
 
  3  
Reply Sun 13 Oct, 2019 03:05 am
@Lash,
You are so filled with crapola.
0 Replies
 
 

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