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Rex Huppke @RexHuppke
, 8 tweets, 2 min read Read on Twitter
1/ Some observations on the Jim Acosta situation: I watched the exchange just moments after it happened, then sent out a tweet saying the woman who tried to get his microphone should be lose her job. Swiftly, I was hit with a bot-driven response.
2/ The responses, as you'd expect from bots, were strikingly similar. It was either "Acosta assaulted that woman" or "he karate chopped her arm." (I thought the karate reference was odd, since nothing in the live video suggest such a motion. It's also just a random word choice.)
3/ My mentions swiftly filled up with other MAGA accounts - maybe real, maybe more bots - parroting the same language. That soon became the narrative on the right: Acosta attacked that woman! Hours later, the White House released a statement making a similar allegation.
4/ The statement said Acosta placed “his hands on a young woman just trying to do her job as a White House intern.” A few hours later, Sarah Sanders releases a doctored video that has been sped up so it looks like Acosta's arm is moving in - you guessed it - a chopping motion.
5/ I bring this up because I happened to be tuned in to the whole evolution of this thing. It shows just how swiftly an absurd disinformation campaign can be set in motion and how willingly the White House embraces these campaigns and uses them to stir the pot.
6/ I don't think it's unreasonable to ponder whether this could all have been a set up. Personally, I don't think this administration is clever enough for that. I think they just stumble into other people's nonsense and roll with it if it helps them. But this should concern us.
7/ Both because this administration is a moral vacuum that will leverage disinformation - and disseminate it - without a second thought. And because we're clearly in an age where an administration that's both soulless AND clever could easily create untold chaos. END
8/ This thread has now become a column, with expert insight from Clint Watts (@selectedwisdom) of the Foreign Policy Research Institute, who studies social media disinformation campaigns.…
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