According to Matt Tabbi, Hamilton 68: a widely-cited, (indirectly) state-sponsored propaganda tool that claimed to monitor a secret list of Kremlin-controlled Twitter accounts, but their claims cannot be verified because the group has never released its methods.
According to a story by Matt Taibbi in Racket, Hamilton 68 was a digital “dashboard” intended for journalists and academics to measure “Russian misinformation.” Clint Watts, a former FBI agent and current “disinformation expert” at MSNBC, conceived the initiative, which the German Marshall Fund and the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a bipartisan research organization, supported. Former acting CIA director Michael Morell, former Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, former Hillary for America chair John Podesta, and former Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol comprise the advisory council for the latter.
After studying the most recent batch of “Twitter Files,” Taibbi has dismantled Hamilton 68’s “black box.” As noted by Taibbi in Racket, ambitious media fraudsters Stephen Glass and Jayson Blair ruined the reputations of the New Republic and the New York Times, respectively, by inserting years’ worth of fabricated news items into their pages. Thanks to the Twitter Files, we can now welcome Hamilton 68 to their notorious club.
This often-cited neoliberal think tank that created hundreds of false headlines and television news pieces may go down in American history as the largest instance of media fabrication. Virtually every major American news agency is involved, including NBC, CBS, ABC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. At least 14 articles in Mother Jones were based on the group’s “research.” Even websites that verify facts, such as Politifact and Snopes, used Hamilton 68 as a source.
Twitter believed they were full of crap.
Taibbi explains that Twitter was worried enough by Hamilton 68’s allegations to conduct a forensic examination, which revealed that of 644 accounts, only 36 were registered in Russia, most of which were affiliated with the Russian news organization RT.
As Taibbi explains further, Twitter executives were surprised upon further examination. The accounts Hamilton 68 claimed were connected to Russian influence efforts online were predominantly English-language (86%). They were also primarily “legitimate people” from the US, Canada, and the UK. They added that these account holders ought to be aware that they have been unilaterally dubbed Russian stooges without proof or redress.
Other internal corporate emails comment that these accounts are neither strongly Russian nor strongly bots. As far as the dashboard monitoring Russian information operations is concerned, there is no evidence to support this claim or evidence of any extensive influence effort.
Trust and Safety chief Yoel Roth stated that he believed they should call this nonsense for what it is.
The two creators of Hamilton 68, former Marco Rubio advisor Jamie Fly and Hillary for America foreign policy advisor Laura Rosenberger told Politico that they could not divulge the account identities because the Russians would just shut them down.
A glance over the list exposes the true reason why they were unable to make it public. This was not a scientific error, and it was a hoax. Instead of examining how “Russia” affected American beliefs, Hamilton 68 selected several largely authentic, largely American reports and characterized their organic interactions as Russian plotting. According to Roth, almost every inference taken from the dashboard will accuse conservative Twitter chats of being Russian.
Twitter executives desired to expose Hamilton 68!
After Russians were accused of amplifying the #ParklandShooting hashtag, one executive asked: Why can’t we say we’ve researched and quoting Hamilton 68 is inaccurate, reckless, and biased?
Trust and Safety head Yoel Roth wanted to confront Hamilton 68, as he wrote in an email. His email was an ultimatum; either Hamilton 68 reveals the list, or they do.
Carlos Monje, the future senior counselor to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, stated that he had been irritated that they haven’t called out Hamilton 68 more publicly, but he realized that they had to play a longer game. Emily Horne, future White House and NSC spokesman, advocated against it.
As Taibbi observes further: As a result, the “legitimate people,” as one Twitter executive termed them, had no idea they had been exploited as material for mountains of news stories alleging “Russian interference.” Because the list is contained in the #TwitterFiles, the investigation has commenced.
The victims of Hamilton speak up.
During the civil war, Sonia Monsour, a youngster in Lebanon, expressed disbelief. In a supposedly free society, everything that is said online is monitored on several levels.
David Shestokas, a Chicago-based attorney, is also accused by Hamilton of being a Russian.
“I’ve written a book about the United States Constitution,” he added, that he was amazed that his name was on that list.
The Hamilton 68 incident demonstrates how the perception of continual “Russian intervention” was created. The convergence of interests between think tanks, the media, and the government produced the illusion. Previously, there was only conjecture. Now everyone knows that the “Russian menace” was, at least in one instance, only a group of ordinary Americans disguised as the Red Menace. Jayson Blair had a fantastic imagination, but even he could not have devised such an offensive plan.
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