This is the on-site version of today’s WTF MSM!? newsletter. You don’t have to wait for this newsletter to be published; you can receive it every day in your inbox by signing up here.
Is that all? … In an all-too-familiar Friday afternoon news dump – before a long weekend, no less – Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced that special counsel Robert Mueller has indicted 13 Russian nationals in a scheme to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. As the weekend progressed, it became clear that the total spent by these Russian actors on Facebook ads before the election was $46,000, according to Senate committee testimony of Facebook executives shared by Byron York. Former George W. Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer had this to say on Twitter:
Russians spent $46,000 on Facebook prior to the election. Hillary and Trump spent $81 million. We should punish Russia because the right amount they should spend is zero. But a little perspective is helpful. Russia influenced the election the same way a drop influences an ocean. https://t.co/H6G5rB00zk
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) February 19, 2018
To be sure, the entire Russian operation was larger than that. But just how much larger? Andrey Zakharov, one of two Russian journalists who wrote an extensive report on Russian operations surrounding the 2016 elections, told the Washington Post that the entire “American department was like 90 people.” Zakharov added, “Russian conservatives were proud. They said: ‘Look at what Russians can do! Only 90 people with $2 million made America scared!’”
Is that really what the nonstop media coverage over the last year has been about? Ninety Russian trolls with a $2 million budget have sent the American public into a frenzy and pitted neighbor against neighbor and family member against family member? That means $2 million in an election that saw a total of $2.4 billion spent on the presidential races – 0.083 percent of the total – has caused all this and spawned a criminal investigation. If the Russians really wanted to sow discord, the cost of that discord was astonishingly low.
The media has played along … Not only was the cost to sow discord miniscule, U.S. media networks like CNN and MSNBC have jumped right on board the Russian propaganda train. After the election, the Russian trolls set up a series of anti-Trump rallies across the United States. NewsBusters has the story of how CNN and MSNBC promoted these Russian propaganda efforts with extensive coverage.
Facebook exec blasts false “media narrative” … As the media circus around the Mueller indictments swirled, Facebook’s vice president of advertising tried to inject some truth into the discussion. Rob Goldman tweeted:
The majority of the Russian ad spend happened AFTER the election. We shared that fact, but very few outlets have covered it because it doesn’t align with the main media narrative of Tump and the election. https://t.co/2dL8Kh0hof
— Rob Goldman (@robjective) February 17, 2018
Wait! What? The media fixates on a narrative and then doesn’t present facts that may destroy that narrative? I’m shocked, I tell ya, shocked! Facebook has published an extensive list of answers to a lot of the questions surrounding the ad buys.
… against the mainstream media’s biased reporting, selective facts, and outright propaganda. Sign up now for the daily dose of sunlight you need to disinfect the media’s lies. It’s free!
Stelter’s gonna Stelter … CNN media critic/cheerleader Brian Stelter really, truly is the gift that keeps on giving. He is a caricature of the biased media hack right out of central casting. This weekend, after saying last week that he doesn’t constantly call into question President Trump’s mental health, he did so once again. I wrote about Stelter and this perpetual ridiculousness at Conservative Review. Here’s my key takeaway from the article:
Stelter’s Sunday outburst proves, once again, that he is not a media critic. He is not an unbiased journalist. He is not nonpartisan. Brian Stelter is a left-wing partisan and a cheerleader for his fellow leftist journalists.
Hyperbole … Here’s example 100,309,098 from just this year why a vast number of Americans do not trust the media. The Washington post ran a “Perspective” – opinion – piece today titled “Stop comparing Trump to South American dictators. He’s actually far worse.” Right … President Donald Trump is worse than people who have their political enemies systematically killed? The best part is why the author thinks this. Here it is:
Peronism led a process of expanding economic equality, collective organization and political enfranchisement. Trumpism, by contrast, builds upon American tendencies toward inequality, individualism and political disengagement.
Put in plainer English: Peron was benevolent, Trump is a meanie.
Where do they find these people?
I know that I spend a lot of time on CNN’s Brian Stelter and readily admit it. Why? Because he makes it so easy. So why not help me ruin Brian Stelter’s day in a small but meaningful way by getting your friends to sign up to receive WTF MSM!? in their email inboxes. Just invite your friends to join the fun by sending them over to the WTF MSM!? email signup page. Then send me an email at [email protected] to share the good news of how many more people you’ve invited to get the email. As always, feel free to tell me anything questionable you see the media do. Together, we can fight back.
Robert Eno is the editor of the WTF MSM!? newsletter and director of retention for Blaze Media.