Sunday, November 4, 2018

Kathleen Hall Jamieson

Kathleen Hall Jamieson is the author of Cyberwar: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President.

From her Q&A with Slate's Isaac Chotiner:

Isaac Chotiner: What leads you to be confident enough to make the judgment that Russian interference likely provided Trump’s winning margin?

Kathleen Hall Jamieson: There are so many different pathways by which the effect on the electoral outcome could have been achieved that the likelihood that some combination of them achieved it is relatively high, and two of the three individual pathways are of themselves significant enough that they could have accomplished that end.

What are those pathways?

The first, which is the one that is the weakest of the arguments, is the Russian social media interventions.

First, they reached 126 million Americans that we know of through Facebook, and there was reach as well, although not that substantial, on other platforms.

Second, the message aligned with Donald Trump, because my argument isn’t that they put new messaging in, but rather that they amplified messaging that was already there. For example, you find very strong anti-immigrant appeals. You also find attacks on Hillary Clinton, or I should say on her candidacy, but also on Hillary Clinton the person, that are consistent with the Trump attacks. She’s corrupt. She’s lying. She should be in prison.

Isn’t this then a way of saying, “Well, you know. Trump could have spent slightly more money, and amplified his message, and that would have made the difference?”

Yes, because the argument about the impact of social media is that it increased the balance of the messaging in a way that on the margins would have made the difference. It is not an argument about new messaging.

What I argue is that there’s strong evidence that they were trying to mobilize evangelical Christians who were white, conservative Catholics, and they were trying to mobilize veterans and military households. Those are...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue