Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Investing in a Bubble Mania Stock Market Trending Towards Financial Crisis 2.0 CRASH! - 9th Sep 21
2.Tech Stocks Bubble Valuations 2000 vs 2021 - 25th Sep 21
3.Stock Market FOMO Going into Crash Season - 8th Oct 21
4.Stock Market FOMO Hits September Brick Wall - Evergrande China's Lehman's Moment - 22nd Sep 21
5.Crypto Bubble BURSTS! BTC, ETH, XRP CRASH! NiceHash Seizes Funds on Account Halting ALL Withdrawals! - 19th May 21
6.How to Protect Your Self From a Stock Market CRASH / Bear Market? - 14th Oct 21
7.AI Stocks Portfolio Buying and Selling Levels Going Into Market Correction - 11th Oct 21
8.Why Silver Price Could Crash by 20%! - 5th Oct 21
9.Powell: Inflation Might Not Be Transitory, After All - 3rd Oct 21
10.Global Stock Markets Topped 60 Days Before the US Stocks Peaked - 23rd Sep 21
Last 7 days
Bitcoin Price TRIGGER for Accumulating Into Alt Coins for 2022 Price Explosion - 30th Nov 21
Omicron Covid Wave 4 Impact on Financial Markets - 30th Nov 21
Can You Hear It? That’s the Crowd Booing Gold’s Downturn - 30th Nov 21
Economic and Market Impacts of Omicron Strain Covid 4th Wave - 30th Nov 21
Stock Market Historical Trends Suggest A Strengthening Bullish Trend In December - 30th Nov 21
Crypto Market Analysis: What Trading Will Look Like in 2022 for Novice and Veteran Traders? - 30th Nov 21
Best Stocks for Investing to Profit form the Metaverse and Get Rich - 29th Nov 21
Should You Invest In Real Estate In 2021? - 29th Nov 21
Silver Long-term Trend Analysis - 28th Nov 21
Silver Mining Stocks Fundamentals - 28th Nov 21
Crude Oil Didn’t Like Thanksgiving Turkey This Year - 28th Nov 21
Sheffield First Snow Winter 2021 - Snowballs and Snowmen Fun - 28th Nov 21
Stock Market Investing LESSON - Buying Value - 27th Nov 21
Corsair MP600 NVME M.2 SSD 66% Performance Loss After 6 Months of Use - Benchmark Tests - 27th Nov 21
Stock Maket Trading Lesson - How to REALLY Trade Markets - 26th Nov 21
SILVER Price Trend Analysis - 26th Nov 21
Federal Reserve Asks Americans to Eat Soy “Meat” for Thanksgiving - 26th Nov 21
Is the S&P 500 Topping or Just Consolidating? - 26th Nov 21
Is a Bigger Drop in Gold Price Just Around the Corner? - 26th Nov 21
Financial Stocks ETF Sector XLF Pullback Sets Up A New $43.60 Upside Target - 26th Nov 21
A Couple of Things to Think About Before Buying Shares - 25th Nov 21
UK Best Fixed Rate Tariff Deal is to NOT FIX Gas and Electric Energy Tariffs During Winter 2021-22 - 25th Nov 21
Stock Market Begins it's Year End Seasonal Santa Rally - 24th Nov 21
How Silver Can Conquer $50+ in 2022 - 24th Nov 21
Stock Market Betting on Hawkish Fed - 24th Nov 21
Stock Market Elliott Wave Trend Forecast - 24th Nov 21
Your once-a-year All-Access Financial Markets Analysis Pass - 24th Nov 21
Did Zillow’s $300 million flop prove me wrong? - 24th Nov 21
Now Malaysian Drivers Renew Their Kurnia Car Insurance Online With Fincrew.my - 24th Nov 21
Gold / Silver Ratio - 23rd Nov 21
Stock Market Sentiment Speaks: Can We Get To 5500SPX In 2022? But 4440SPX Comes First - 23rd Nov 21
A Month-to-month breakdown of how Much Money Individuals are Spending on Stocks - 23rd Nov 21
S&P 500: Rallying Tech Stocks vs. Plummeting Oil Stocks - 23rd Nov 21
Like the Latest Bond Flick, the US Dollar Has No Time to Die - 23rd Nov 21
Why BITCOIN NEW ALL TIME HIGH Changes EVERYTHING! - 22nd Nov 21
Cannabis ETF MJ Basing & Volatility Patterns - 22nd Nov 21
The Most Important Lesson Learned from this COVID Pandemic - 22nd Nov 21
Dow Stock Market Trend Analysis - 22nd Nov 21

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Protect your Wealth by Investing in AI Tech Stocks

Fake News Didn’t Influence the US Election

Politics / Propaganda Dec 07, 2016 - 03:50 PM GMT

By: John_Mauldin

Politics

BY GEORGE FRIEDMAN : Since Election Day, Americans’ focus has shifted to something that’s considered a new phenomenon.

Some suspect that false news may have swayed the US presidential election. Some also claim this false news was planted by Russian intelligence under orders of President Vladimir Putin, who allegedly supported Trump’s election.

Given that a recount of votes in some states is likely—with some saying Russians might have hacked voting machines—it’s no longer a matter of politics but of geopolitics.


It’s a serious claim. However, the premise that false news was a decisive factor in this election is a bit of a stretch. And I’ll tell you why.

Witnessing propaganda first-hand

I was personally caught in a bit of Russian disinformation following the events in Ukraine. While visiting Moscow, I was interviewed by the leading business paper there, Kommersant.

Discussing the US role in Ukraine, I answered a question by saying, “If this was a coup, it was the most blatant coup in history, since the Americans were quite open in supporting the demonstrators.”

Kommersant published it fairly close to what I said. But Sputnik, a Russian government outlet, quoted me as saying that Ukraine “was the most blatant coup in history.”

Saying it was taken out of context is so lame. The problem is that I was a completely unimportant observer, and Sputnik promoted me to someone significant.

Otherwise, who would pay attention to anything I said?

So the Ukraine story left newspapers and entered the web, where it was incredibly widely circulated and totally ignored. I personally was hoping to pick up some subscribers from it.

Alas, no one has ever brought up the incident with me—even though it was retweeted all over the place and is still out there. 

Social media’s echo chamber

Social media has two defects from the standpoint of disinformation. The first is that people tend to only read and follow things with which they already agree. The number of people who consume information with which they disagree is fairly small.

Social media is vast but has massive walls in terms of interest and technology. That means the only people who believed I said what Sputnik quoted were people who already thought it was a blatant coup.

A million views worldwide means mostly that everyone who is ideologically aligned had seen it. The very ideological divide that frightens us serves to contain news in social media.

The second defect is the sheer volume of noise on the internet. In the 1950s, three networks existed, along with a few newspapers that others copied. It was much harder to plant a story on CBS, but the output of CBS was extremely loud with few competing noises.

It is now hard to hear anything above the roar, and the chances of reaching those you want to reach—and persuading them of something in the few characters allowed by a tweet—is limited. 

The internet is a wonderful place to communicate with those who agree and know how to find you. It is not so good at finding and persuading those who don’t agree.

So, the story of an FBI agent who had been investigating Hillary Clinton and was found dead with his wife, likely would be believed by someone who thought Clinton was a monster.

Someone pro-Clinton—or even neutral—likely never saw it, and certainly wouldn’t have believed it. The idea that these stories were decisive in the presidential election is dubious 

Putin’s Paranoia

It is not surprising that Putin would attempt to play with the election. First, he believes the US is constantly intruding on domestic Russian politics by forming small political groups (nongovernmental organizations) to shape elections. He undoubtedly wanted to pay back the US for that.

If Putin was involved in this disinformation, it would not be a move of strength, but rather weakness. I already have explained in recent articles why the Russians are weak and why Putin wants to project an appearance of significance where he can.

He did manage to make himself appear looming over the US election, but the ability of disinformation to determine elections or other things is severely limited. 

Lies are primarily believed by those who want to believe them and frequently make opponents stronger by fueling a sense of outrage over the fact that they are lies. They basically leave everything in place. 

I regard the false news issue as a red herring. False news has always existed, and some of it comes from governments. It never has been particularly effective in changing the behavior of nations.

I would strongly argue that social media, with its tribes and noise, makes effective disinformation that much harder. But as the US is in a mood to panic, it’s as good a subject as any.

Prepare Yourself for Tomorrow with George Friedman’s This Week in Geopolitics

This riveting weekly newsletter by global-intelligence guru George Friedman gives you an in-depth view of the hidden forces that drive world events and markets. You’ll learn that economic trends, social upheaval, stock market cycles, and more… are all connected to powerful geopolitical currents that most of us aren’t even aware of. Get This Week in Geopolitics free in your inbox every Monday.

John Mauldin Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in