The $1 Billion Disinformation Campaign

Headed by Brad Parscale, Disinformation Campaign Manager

An op-ed in The Atlantic by McKay Coppins profiles a glimpse inside the war raging against liberal dissidence on social media.  A fake profile and a few pro-Trump “likes” led to algorithms that flooded a “newsfeed” with MAGA diehard pages, groups and ads.

As I swiped at my phone, a stream of pro-Trump propaganda filled the screen: “That’s right, the whistleblower’s own lawyer said, ‘The coup has started …’ ” Swipe. “Democrats are doing Putin’s bidding …” Swipe. “The only message these radical socialists and extremists will understand is a crushing …” Swipe. “Only one man can stop this chaos …” Swipe, swipe, swipe.

I was surprised by the effect it had on me. I’d assumed that my skepticism and media literacy would inoculate me against such distortions. But I soon found myself reflexively questioning every headline. It wasn’t that I believed Trump and his boosters were telling the truth. It was that, in this state of heightened suspicion, truth itself—about Ukraine, impeachment, or anything else—felt more and more difficult to locate. With each swipe, the notion of observable reality drifted further out of reach.

By jamming social media with pure mass presence, the Trump campaign is using a megaphone to drown out dissent.

In the Trump campaign of fake news, the First Amendment props up Twitter, Facebook, Fox News and various partisan freelance operatives in its attempt to bombard, brainwash, and confuse the electorate.  More than $1 billion is expected to be spent on the most extensive disinformation campaign in history.

What began with a bunch of B-teamers in Trump Tower is now a slick operative in a modern office tower in Virginia.  With a sophisticated and experienced effort with near unlimited funds, Brad Parscale heads the messaging without reservation about the kind of misinformation and inflammatory rhetoric he would flinging.

The tactics: to lie, undermine trust in the press, flood Facebook with targeted ads and bots on Twitter to “simulate false consensus, derail sincere debate, and hound people out of the public square,” and sow confusion and doubt in opponents.

See the op-ed in the above link, and more here at Axios.