Imagine being the type of person who thinks that weirdly, Dems just happen to endorse uniquely corrupt candidates! Twice in a row! And that had they just nominated the other candidate in the race that it would have gone off without a hitch.
Biden, Sanders, Warren, Harris, Buttigieg, Bloomberg, Bullock, Booker... et al. No matter who they nominated, yes, this was going to be the final play from the Trump team. Had Bernie won the primary, we’d be hearing about some nonsense smear against him.
Biden wasn’t even in my top 5 preferred candidates out of all the people who ran. There are many people who were running whose policy views more accurately match my own — including Sanders. So while I think it would have been great had he won the primary for policy reasons,
... one side benefit of that would have been that the same people who spent 2016 (and now 2020) “tsk tsk tsk”-ing everyone who pointed out that it was an influence campaign of bullshit would understand how universal that kind of campaign can work. Against anyone.
The issue is that the way information spreads in traditional media and online makes these sorts of campaigns pretty easy to carry out. And they’re effective.
For instance: if you insist a document is damning, smoking gun evidence of a campaign-destroying scandal, and it’s just you doing that, the next person who comes along can say, “What? No it doesn’t. I looked at it myself.”

... If you have news outlets willing to blast out your message claiming that the document is proof of whatever, backing you up, it gets harder for individuals to push back. Even if they’re right.

That’s the right-wing media ecosystem. That’s what’s happening.
One example of this was the “death panel” lie about the ACA. Remember that?

Here’s a poll from 2012. The ACA had been law for more than 2 years. A sizable segment of the population was still convinced it has “death panels”…
Once people get convinced of something, it’s hard to get them to change. What may begin as an astroturf/propaganda effort will, if successful, become a genuine belief among certain segments of the population…
As I’ve repeatedly said: “here’s someone’s hacked/leaked emails” is not a newsworthy story in itself. There’s zero news value in what NYP has put out. These things are being framed in a way to prime people to believe that they’re evidence of...something bad, not specific.
Same exact thing that happened when the Mueller report came out. Within 15 minutes of that being posted online there were already people insisting that there was no evidence of any wrongdoing and everything was some sort of conspiracy theory. But it’s not what it said.
It’s about getting a message out into the world and making it become the accepted truth. It doesn’t matter whether it’s actually the truth. It’s why Barr wrote a letter that summarized Mueller’s findings so inaccurately that Mueller himself had to write a response saying so.
But because of Barr’s letter, every newspaper in the country proclaimed Trump’s innocence even though the report itself made very clear that it didn’t establish “innocence,” and that no matter what they’d have found, they couldn’t charge Trump with anything.
It drives me up a wall that journalists of all people fall for this stuff. But let’s be clear: they only fall for it because on some level they *want* to fall for it. Grim knows better. Greenwald knows better. All the “anti-anti-Trump” contrarians know better.
That is EXACTLY what this thread is about! How do you not get this?!

Let me break it down for you: no such candidate exists. None. No one. Nowhere. And certainly not in the Democratic primary. How is this not sinking in?
Exactly. When he ran for president, he had about as clean a record as could be. But then there’s birtherism and Reverend Wright and Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko and so on. None of those were actually scandals. They were manufactured controversies.
The difference between 2008 and 2020, unfortunately, is that the way information gets shared is optimized for this, and the network of media outlets that amplify manufactured controversies is stronger than ever:

There’s no candidate who’d make it to Election Day.
People reverse engineer justifications for their views all the time, moving the goalposts as they go. Here’s an example:

1 + 2.) It’s ridiculous to think this thing happened

3.) Well, we can’t be sure this thing happened

4.) It’s good this thing happened
Also, one thing I think doesn’t get enough attention when discussing 2016 and influence campaigns: the unintended consequences.

In all, there were maybe... 3 or 4 mini-scandals that came out of the DNC emails. Give or take. But every day you’d have major news outlets ...
... blasting out stories that were like “New leaked emails!” It suggested that there was something newsworthy in them. Why? Because ordinarily, if there’s a story that ends up in the news, it’s newsworthy (obviously). The very existence of a story suggests something’s amiss. ...
That was one issue. Newspapers should have published stories about anything that was actually of note in those leaks. Write those stories about the 3 or 4 things that were actually newsworthy. Absolutely.

But in 2016, the story was often just “emails exist.”
And here’s the problem with that: If you present something to someone, priming them to believe there’s something nefarious in what you’re showing them, they’re going to try to put pieces together that may not actually even exist. Just for the sake of solving the puzzle.
And that happened in 2016: people started seeing codes that weren’t there, their brains filling in the blanks, fueled on by others doing the same thing: out of that, we got the absolutely bonkers Pizzagate conspiracy... which led to the QAnon stuff.
That’s why journalists matter: they contextualize information and verify facts *before* throwing a story out into the world. They don’t just float things out there and go “something in this email is probably a crime, but idk. Just planing seeds of suspicion.”
Utterly irresponsible.

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Parker Molloy

Parker Molloy Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @ParkerMolloy

19 Oct
It's really amazing how many people on the right think they can do this little sleight of hand with why people know that story is BS.

Substitute actual reason (NYP is framing a story as a scandal when the emails they're showing don't actually show a scandal) with "emails exist"
This is literally the same shit dumbass pizzagate people say to defend their conspiracy theory. "OH, SO YOU'RE SAYING THOSE AREN'T PODESTA'S EMAILS!?!?" No, we're saying they don't say what you're claiming they do.

So congrats for taking the pizzagate approach, I guess.
Anyway, I'm sure the "I'm here to dump on the Dems and I'm from the left! I'm here to dump on the Dems and I'm from the right!" show at The Hill that was created the guy who peddled bogus Biden/Ukraine stories last year are going to act like this is legit.
Read 8 tweets
19 Oct
I genuinely wonder if people like this are *actually* this naive and don't realize that it's not a matter of whether there's actual wrongdoing, but the *appearance* of wrongdoing as presented through the right-wing media filter.
"Oh wHaT wOuLd tHeY FiNd? An EmAiL sAyiNg PeOpLe ShOuLd HaVe HeALtHcArE?"

What's just amazing about these takes is that there's an assumption that people on the right are working from a place of intellectual honesty and not just revving up a smear campaign.
John Podesta's emails about catering were the basis of what became a worldwide conspiracy cult that runs around accusing Democrats and random celebrities of eating babies. It's not about there being a "there" there or not.
Read 7 tweets
19 Oct
The *biggest* issue with the Post's stories on this, and I'm willing to bet Sohrab is well aware of this, is that what's being presented by the paper as damning/criminal/"a smoking gun"/evidence is not actually damning/criminal/"a smoking gun"/evidence.
It's the same thing that was used to defend a lot of the reporting on many of the 2016 Wikileaks emails.

WL would tweet something like "DNC spox says [something]!" and then if you looked at it and followed the email thread back, it would be that person *quoting someone else*.
Then, if you'd question it, people would go, "Nuh uh! The emails are real!" which is a dodge because what you were criticizing was the conclusion derived from the emails and not the emails themselves.

Same playbook here, but much flimsier content.
Read 8 tweets
18 Oct
There are some really great pieces about the Bidens/Ukraine/Burisma that Greenwald should check out from an outlet called... one sec... ah, The Intercept.



Another piece at The Intercept: “By reporting on a conspiracy theory promoted by the president as a political story, with two sides, journalists are helping to weaponize disinformation.”… ImageImageImage
Read 4 tweets
18 Oct
... ... ... they can’t even really believe this, can they? Image
Normal human being, especially one who has ever worked in a bar or a restaurant: oh yeah, they’re saying get him out of office/cut him off/vote him out/impeach him

MAGAbrains: sHe iS tHrEaTeNiNg tO mUrDeR HiM

Also, this bad faith play isn’t new:…
They’re going to get her killed. This is all a game to them.
Read 6 tweets
18 Oct
This guy highlights the issue with all this Hunter Biden stuff.

“It is not going to go away and it will not look like nothing.” Then if you follow his thread, his issue is that a company hiring someone who has a famous family member, and he tries to define that as “corruption.”
Unless you ban family members of famous people from working ... at all ... you can’t stop companies from hiring people because they’re adjacent to power.

What makes it corruption is if the person in power does something or changes policy in order to *get* their relative a job. Image
Was John McCain guilty of corruption because Meghan McCain was hired to work in media (Daily Beast, Fox News, and then most recently ABC)?

No. Because that’s not how corruption works. It’s a backwards understanding of corruption.
Read 13 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!