JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE LUNATIC HUNT FOR RUSSIAN “TROLLS” SHOULD TELL US SOMETHING – IT REALLY ISN’T FAR FROM SCHOLASTIC INVESTIGATIONS INTO THE NUMBER OF ANGELS THAT FIT ON THE HEAD OF A PIN   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN ALTERNET

 

“Here’s How Russian Propaganda Trolls Act Differently Online from Regular People”

 

I’m sorry, but I find this kind of thing – analyzing Internet traffic to the purpose of identifying “trolls” – nonsense.

It is, of course, in keeping with the current waves of anti-Russia hysteria, but such claims go beyond that.

The efforts seem inherently dishonest, much like Facebook, one of the most dishonest operations on the Internet, trying to tell us what is “true.”

I read a lot of newspapers, and, being concerned with public and world affairs, I comment on a good many.

I have a pretty good intuitive grasp of the comment environment in the collection of papers from several countries which I read.

First, I have, on more than one occasion, been labeled myself as a Russian troll, and that is only because I try to inject some realism and balance into many articles I find without those qualities, articles that are sometimes the most blatant propaganda, and there really are a lot of those in these days.

Simply ridiculous, but it is the kind of loose-mouthed stuff that goes on all the time now, Trump himself being a prime example. Instead of calling people “commies” or “pinkos” today, terms which sound very dated, people who want to attack opinions they don’t like call their authors “trolls.” Name-calling instead of dealing with arguments and facts.

It really is childish.

I am not naïve, and I know organized efforts, by states, to influence opinion do exist. But why the focus on Russia? There is only one reason, and that is the Washington power establishment’s current hysteria.

The United States itself has a very large set of efforts. Why would they not? In the Cold War, the US poured resources into the non-digital equivalents – everything from Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, both CIA operations, to stories planted in papers like the Washington Post or New York Times and the use of “friendly” magazines like Time or Life or Readers Digest to get stories “out there.” Plus, many, many other efforts.

The one “troll” effort I do find quite noticeable is the one from Israel in the comments sections of some newspapers in Britain. Israel apparently has both an IDF unit doing this kind of thing and it has a program paying people such as students to do it.

Sadly, the comments are mostly terribly transparent, and I don’t see how they would influence many readers. The use of language, the lines repeated as from a crib sheet, and even sometimes the pseudonyms used make them transparent.

I just do not see it is a serious problem to be talked about all the time. But then I’m not part of America’s official “Hate Russia” campaign.

I try to judge everything I read by the reasonable standards of someone like the late I. F. Stone when he talked about trying to get some truth from newspapers, which we know have always been, and still are, larded with bias and favoritism and deliberate disinformation.

Trolls are a minor subject for a school civics course, at best.

 

Posted September 6, 2018 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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