December 18, 2018
A new study has claimed Russia’s online interference tried to aid the conservative movement and Donald Trump. There’s a big problem with that assessment. It comes from a left-wing operation that previously classified more than 11 different conservative outlets as “junk news.” And two of those authors were also involved in this report.
The study was released by the Oxford University Computational Propaganda Project and Graphika. It argued that fake accounts, ads, and tweets “all clearly sought to benefit the Republican Party — and specifically Donald Trump”
The Oxford University Computational Propaganda Project had attacked several conservative outlets as “junk news” in previous studies. Those targeted outlets include Drudge Report, NewsBusters, CNSNews, MRCTV, Breitbart, the Daily Caller, Free Beacon, LifeNews, National Review, the Federalist, and the Red State. (Three of those are operated by the Media Research Center, which runs NewsBusters.)
The study on “junk news” drew on “a list of sources that consistently publish political news and information that is extremist, sensationalist, conspiratorial, masked commentary, fake news, and other forms of junk news.”
That study was also produced by Oxford and Graphika. Two of the people behind that study, “Junk News Consumption,” were involved in this latest study, “The IRA, Social Media and Political Polarization in the United States 2012-2018.” Philip N. Howard and John Kelly worked on both projects. On Twitter, Howard has posted that he is against the Second Amendment, and repeatedly pushed that Trump supporters and the Trump campaign work primarily through “fake news.”
Another member of the group that produced the study, Camille Francois, was a former employee of Google, working at Jigsaw as a Principal Researcher.
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