Where Was Doug Jensen Radicalized? Russia’s 2016 Election Tampering
Last May, I observed that QAnon had far more evident success in getting its adherents in places to obstruct the vote certification on January 6, 2021 than the organized militias did.
QAnon managed to get far more of their adherents to the Senate floor than either the Proud Boys (Joe Biggs and Arthur Jackman showed up after getting in with the help of people inside) or the Oath Keepers (Kelly Meggs and Joshua James showed up too late). QAnon held a prayer on the dais while the militias were still breaching doors.
While he didn’t make it to the Senate floor, that’s true, in part, because of the fervor with which QAnoner Doug Jensen sprinted up the stairs after Officer Eugene Goodman (though Jensen’s fervor was also one of the things that Goodman exploited to buy time to evacuate the Senate).
According to an FBI interview Jensen did just days after the insurrection (the transcript was released as part of a suppression motion that is unlikely to work), that was his stated intent.
He wanted QAnon to get credit for breaching the Capitol.
I wanted Q to get the attention.
Q. I see.
A. And that was my main intention basically —
A. — was to use my shirt. I basically intended on being the poster boy, and it really worked out.
The transcript is a tough read. It reveals (as the court filings associated with many of the January 6 defendants do) the urgency with which the US needs to address mental health treatment. It reveals how Trump’s propagandists won the allegiance of a blue collar union member who had previously voted Democratic.
But most vividly, it reveals how Jensen got radicalized into QAnon. And that started — as he repeatedly describes — from the files stolen from John Podesta released by WikiLeaks in advance of the 2016 election. He planned to vote for Hillary (!!!) until he came to believe the misrepresentations he read (pushed, in significant part, by accused Proud Boy leader Joe Biggs) of the Podesta files. When the flow of Podesta files ended, Jensen was left with a void, which Q drops filled shortly thereafter. After that, Jensen came to believe Trump’s lies that he had been shafted by the Deep State, by some guy (Peter Strzok) and his girlfriend whose name he couldn’t remember. Perhaps as a result, Jensen came to believe of Putin that, “this guy don’t seem so bad, you know.”
Also, Q said — Q has said things, okay, so like — and anonymous, okay. I follow that, Mayjan (ph.) and all that stuff, you know, because basically I was not into politics until the Wiki leaks dropped, and then when I realized about Haiti, and the Clinton Foundation, and the kidnappings all through the Clinton Foundation, and then I learned about Epstein Island and then I learned Mike Pence owns an island, right — or not Mike Pence, Joe Biden owns an island next door, and then I find that Hunter Biden and Bris Moldings (ph.) and all that, I knew about that a year or two ago.
It all started with all the crap I found out about Hillary Clinton, John Podesta, you know, all of that stuff, and then so right before I was going to vote for Hillary, I was like, whoa, we’ve got to vote Trump in because we can’t have Hillary. And then I start finding things like we were supposed to be dead by now, and if Hillary would have won, we were going to be attacked by North Korea or Iran. We were going to go to war, and we would most likely — half of us wouldn’t be here right now if Trump wouldn’t have won that election is what I got from it.
You guys have an FBI thing that you released all that Ben Swan who was on ABC years ago and he tried to expose pizza gate and he got fired that night from ABC, and he works for RT now.
I am for America, and I feel like we are being taken over by communist China, you know, and the whole Russian collusion was fake. I don’t know what the deal with Russia is, but I don’t know, Vladimir Putin, he seems to be like a decent person, but I could be crazy, you know. But I think we were taught from a young age to hate Russia and all of this stuff. I’ve researched on Vladimir Putin. I was like this guy don’t seem so bad, you know, but I don’t know, you know.
A. And all this information, and Trump’s taking down all these people, you know? And — well, firing them or whatever, you know? Like Brennan, Clapper, you know, that guy that I hate with his girlfriend, I can’t remember their names. Those texting back and forth. But they were all like top, you know, members, they’re high up and stuff.
A. And you saw that they were out to destroy Trump, and they were members of our, you know, Central Intelligence or our FBI, you know?
I did not preplan nothing. I am not a leader. I am just a hardcore patriot. I am a diehard — I believe all this stuff to be true, and I feel like Trump’s just got the absolute shaft from everything around, our own government, the media.
So I voted both terms for Obama, and during the presidency, I thought he was a great president. The health thing. The health thing didn’t benefit me and my family because I had union health insurance. So I got no benefits from it, but I was happy that all those people got insurance, you know? And so I was happy with him. And then I was going to vote for Hillary because I’ve been a democrat my whole life.
A. And then the WikiLeaks thing happened and I had to start questioning where I was getting my info from. And that’s when I realized, you know, holy cow, I can’t vote for this woman. And then it became — like I started telling everybody I know about WikiLeaks and everything else back then. And then that died off when Trump won. And then I didn’t really have anything. I was happy Trump won, you know? And then all of a sudden Q drops started. And it was just — that’s all I did —
A. — was follow those Q drops. [my emphasis]
This is a narrative of how an information operation started by Russia six years ago continues to poison American politics, up to and including persuading Americans to affiliate with the architect of that information operation.
After that radicalization process — Jensen described to the FBI — he readily responded to the propagandists trying to help Trump steal an election: Lin Wood, Sidney Powell, and Rudy Giuliani, as well as the December 19, 2020 Trump tweet that arose out of their machinations. And so he drove all night from Iowa to answer Trump’s call.
Q. How’d you find out about the rally?
A. Well, I found out from the rally from all the different people I follow.
Q. I see.
A. Which — so like — I’m not saying it’s JFK, Jr., but one of the people I follow on Twitter, his name’s John F. Kennedy, Jr., and then Linwood. Linwood’s new. Like everything Linwood has dropped in the last couple weeks is old news, like that’s all old new to me, and so Linwood got me fired up, Sidney Powell got me fired up. Rudy Giuliani got me fired up, you know, and then I go to this Trump rally and I was just hoping it was show time basically, and then he gets done with this rally and I’m just kind of like — he’s like, oh, let’s all go march down peacefully, you know. He didn’t tell us to go storm the building, okay.
A. Trump’s posts. Trump posted make sure you’re there, January 6 for the rally in Washington, D.C., I’ll have some great info, and so that to me was, oh, here it comes, because — and then, you know, all he said, well, where’s Hillary? Well, where? I already know that. Q said where’s Hillary four months ago, you know, so I was kind of like that’s all you got, where’s Hillary? You know, he — and then he got us all fired up to go to that White House, and then it just all happened so quick and I just wanted to make sure that I wanted to be in the front. Basically I wanted to get that Q shirt the attention —
A. — is what my goal was. [my emphasis]
There are few better summaries of the damage done by the sustained information operations that both Russia and Trump pursued — with the Burisma attacks, at least, provably in coordination — over the last six years. The self-described poster boy for the insurrection got there as a result of a sustained series of information operations that started with Russia’s attempt to tamper in the 2016 election.
Only, Doug Jensen makes it clear: Russian didn’t just tamper in the election. It tampered with the American psyche.
“Mayjan and all that stuff…”
“then I learned Mike Pence owns an island, right — or not Mike Pence, Joe Biden owns an island next door…”
“and then I find that Hunter Biden and Bris Moldings (ph.) and all that…”
“…that guy that I hate with his girlfriend, I can’t remember their names….”
The pernicious part of all this is the impossibility (or great difficulty) to deprogram such an ethereal, intangible.
Jensen doesn’t even know anymore what he knows; he’s just left with his altered feelings without understanding anymore why they exist or even what they were.
I only read the Kovler thread you linked to, and his screenshots…
haven’t steeled myself yet for the whole interview [Yes, I’m a wimp.]
4:25 PM · Apr 10, 2022
So. Many. Damaged. People.
They were EXPLOITED
By the purveyors of this POISON,
Who cause US all very deep DAMAGE.
artie bremmer, sirhan sirhan, mark david chapman, the michigan militia members, john hinckley — how many unbalanced young american males exist who can be prevailed upon to perform these acts?
Now, don’t give Son of Sam such short shrift. It took quite a while before that dog trusted SoS enough to share his canine insights . . .and hit list.
1/8/21 JENSEN to FBI:
“Look it up on your phone  Seriously  Look up the storm. It just went into effect”
1/8/21 JENSEN to FBI:
Well, then the guy [Officer Goodman] ran from me and I chased him up the stairs […]”  “Why are you defending these mo-fos, you know, like, go arrest them.”
1/8/21 JENSEN to FBI:
At least he understood, at that time, that Zombie John-John wouldn’t be coming back to lead us. Thank the lord for small favors.
I would be curious to know when that disinformation campaign decided to exploit people like Jensen who sustained nearly a decade of sexual abuse as a child. I imagine that was a goldmine of bodies for Q and wondering how many of those bodies were found during the cambridge analytica bullshit.
THIS. This is the thing that I keep thinking. IIRC, Cambridge boasted 5000 data points, and the psychological profile might not be 100% predictive for behavior, but it would allow for precise targeting. And then, it would give you an idea of percentages, not just for the “persuadable” but for the folks who were reactive enough to act violently in response to propaganda. Tragically, I suspect that this type of trauma is far more widespread, and part of why the “pedophile” language is so persistent on the right. They’re deliberately triggering traumatized people to overwhelm their rational thinking processes. Stochastic terrorism via actuarial analysis.
Yes. It’s Deliberate. Targeted. EXPLOITATION.
AKA the full GOP platform now, per Josh Marshall (paywalled?):
The GOP’s New Moral Panic and Incitement
It’s sickening. And probably full of projection.
No probably to it. Matt Gaetz is spending his weekends standing on podia, calling Democrats pedopiles.
It’s a feature of a buggerer
Ouch! If you know what I mean… ; ^ )
While I have no doubt that they targeted people in various ways, it’s important to note that they are also hijacking a near-universal revulsion. That’s why their efforts are expanding (to loop in the mainstreaming that punaise notes) — because the hook is so expandable.
They are trying to grow their politics based on disgust. We’ve discussed here many times the data that conservatives are especially vulnerable to manipulation via disgust. But where the GOP and their enablers are taking it now impacts everybody — even if they don’t believe it. They’re going for the Pavlovian, the guttural, in repeating certain keywords (e.g. “groomers” of late) at every shoehorned opportunity to associate Democrats with literally the worst.
They’re using a cheap, blunt, hammer on a near-human-universal revulsion, especially among Westerners. Low tech / no tech required, but for repetition. This is yet another instance — perhaps even more important than with other of Trumpists’ falsehoods, but please include them — where media outlets and journalists must be trained to not help with this repetition by quoting tweets, etc., or even un-META-truth-sandwiched floor speeches. Unless plucking it for critique, leave it in their echochambers to exhaust and otherwise do the work on interrupting those media environments.
Some of that interruption would occur by MSM journalism explicitly calling this by its name and educating people — to wit ~:
At minimum they have to stop perpetuating it. GOPers/Trumpists have long deployed this disgust axis with other keywords, and while some, like “socialists”, gain traction from historical weight they are no match with this go-round. There is no safe passivity here.
Ooof! That is a deeply disturbing and painful observation. Makes complete sense, prey on the vulnerable.
I second that “ooof.”
You don’t have to be mentally ill to fall for this kind of propaganda if you have been hearing it for decades. I have college educated people in my family who are otherwise rational and nice people who believed the right wing lies about Hillary and Bill Clinton having people murdered that were peddled by “normal” “mainstream” Republicans starting back in the 90s. Jerry Falwell went around the country selling the video Clinton Chronicles which accused the Clintons of having had at least fifty people murdered. Falwell’s Liberty University also sold the video. Falwell’s actions were reported in media around the country at that time yet after his despicable promotion of that insane conspiracy the media continued treating Falwell with great respect, repeatedly inviting him on shows like Meet the Press and Hardball as a spokesman for Christians. Is it any wonder that people like my religious relatives fell for it? Or that they fell for the lies told by Russian, Q-anon, etc?
Even worse Republicans conducted several official investigations of the vicious, cruel and completely insane charge that the Clintons had murdered their close friend Vince Foster. These were mainstream Republicans, not fringe crackpots — Al D’Amato oversaw the investigation conducted by the Senate Banking Committee. House investigation featured Indiana Congressman Dan Burton providing evidence that “proved” Foster could not have shot himself — evidence Burton obtained by shooting pumpkins in his backyard.
Even more shocking to me is that after these two investigations as well as a investigation by Special Prosecutor (Republican) Robert Fiske had found no evidence that Foster had been murdered, none other than Brett Kavanaugh talked Ken Starr into letting him conduct a fourth investigation. His memos from that investigation show that he had made a point of assuring he colleagues that he didn’t really believe Foster had been murdered.
“Why was Kavanaugh Obsessed with Vince Foster”
All of those investigations were paid for by us taxpayers. I have never seen a total but Kavanaugh’s investigation alone cost us $2 million as reported in the above NY Times article. I still believe that had the media treated these accusations and investigations with appropriate outrage Republican leaders would have reined in the crazy back then when it was possible to do so.
You are quite right. But you might also be surprised to find out how many nice, mostly rational people have histories of abuse (whether sexual or physical) and/or neglect in childhood. The pain and rage are often buried deep, but can be quickened, and the offer of an external place to put them (“Democrat pedophiles” for instance) is hard to resist. Basic negative reinforcement – doing this takes away my pain, so I will keep doing it…
What this seems to show is that there is a dark art to truly effective disinformation, and that if you have been practicing it for generations as seems to be the case with Russians going back a century, you develop an instinct for the most effective devices. It is disinformation as an immortal earworm that eats and destroys brains.
Not instinct, I think, so much as teaching and using the techniques that have been most effective in the past, while testing newer ones for their effectiveness.
The internet makes it so easy to seed tens, hundreds, thousands of disinformation stories, then sit back and watch what happens. It’s a game changer, allowing unprecedented access to foreign actors.
Few things I have read raise a higher level of concern for our nation than this post! The sophistication of the lies combined with the gullibility of the targets makes it hard to retain a positive outlook. I had hopes that the internet would free us from the media dominance of big corporations. I am now discouraged by how effectively this tool is being used by internationally aligned oligarchs.
Right now, it is tough for me to game out a positive course for our future!
Having watched Last Week Tonight’s last episode about data brokers it makes me wonder how many people like Jensen performed a few exploratory internet searches after seeing a Facebook post, was targeted by bad actors, and subsequently led on a guided tour down a bullshit rabbit hole?
“was targeted” undersells what happened.
Facebook and Youtube promote Q*n**n on purpose. Their programmers and execs are sophisticated enough to know the difference between promoting largely apolitical conspiracies about moon landings and explicitly political conspiracies targeting real life individuals. They made sure Youtube and Facebook pushed the second type.
If you haven’t seen “The Social Dilemma” yet on Netflix, please try do so now.
Social Media algorithms and their designers and engineers rebelling against the outrage machine they built describe it’s inner workings and how it sucks a person in.
Pls don’t take the following as any sort of defence of social media company directors.
AIUI Youtube (Google) let their profit-maximising plan (keep viewers watching for as long as possible) and algorithm (predictor of which videos would keep viewer watching) decide what to show youtubers. Which resulted in a sequence of videos which trained many viewers into becoming, depending on their starting point, holocaust-deniers, white supremecists, Trump- supporters, or Qanon believers.
Like Facebook letting itself be used to enable genocide in Burma, the YT execs, AIUI, didn’t purposely choose to promote Q anon. They instead behaved like firework manufacturers who didn’t use adequate safeguards and so had foreseeable lethal explosions..
As far as winning the allegiance, Rudy, Fox and them all are screaming of Hunter’s $100,000 gain while Jarvanka and Mnuchin sign on for over $1,000,000,000 each from MBS, which will be swept…
That US$2 billion from the KSA was an investment, not a gift, and comes with a lot of strings. While it makes Kushner’s new and unmarketable investment vehicle viable, it does so at the cost of making him permanently beholden to the whims of the KSA.
A big “if” is how that vehicle invests and who dictates that. Kushner has no PE experience, and is unwilling to hire and pay those who do. And he’s not very good at managing and non-PE investments, either.
My guess is that, except on the periphery, Saudis will control what happens to their money, which means they outright control Jared and his signature investment vehicle (and whatever that vehicle takes a large stake in). He now has three hands up his puppet’s ass: Ivanka’s, TFG’s, and the KSA’s. The price of fame.
We don’t know if this $2B wasn’t a reward arising from whatever Kushner (and Mnuchin) discussed back in 2017.
My point was that the Saudi investment was of great value to Kushner, but that it was not a gift, and came with a myriad of strings and consequences. Why it was made is another matter.
The decision to make it was not a commercial one, evidenced by the professional staff’s reluctance to make, owing to Kushner’s non-existent track record in managing PE investments, and his abysmal track record managing anything else. Their reluctance was overridden for political reasons.
I would absolutely agree that it was most likely made for services rendered. As you say, we don’t know what those were, but we should. The services were paid for with federal dollars and were outcomes of federal policy arranged by Kushner and TFG. Corruption at its finest.
Yes, but proving it post facto might be next to impossible. It is also forward thinking too, I would think, in case Trump retakes office in 2025.
Except that DOJ is already investigating and discussing superseding indictments including Tom Barrack’s still uncharged co-conspirators.
Unclear why that affects what the Saudis may possibly have been thinking.
Because what the Saudis were thinking is part of the charges. Barrack is the one who made sure MbS was treated as if he were already King.
…and for services to be rendered.
That depends on TFG being re-elected – a big if, given his health, diet, life patterns. It could depend upon Kushner becoming essential to the next Gooper other than Trump, but that seems less likely,
More likely is that Kushner is now a permanent mole for the KSA in American society and politics, available to the highest bidder who wants to impress the Saudis. That is, as long as he stays out of jail.
Don’t you have to include Mnuchin in that mole category ? Didn’t he get $1B in funding from the Saudis also ?
He got twice as much as Kushner and on better terms. But he is an actual money manager type with a good track record. So while there surely was “payback” involved and probably also some future-oriented hopes, the Mnuchin investment is more like standard post-office cashing-in stuff. Still smelly, but like overripe cheese as opposed to the rotting rat carcass of Kushner’s operation.
Lol, that is true.
It’s not that they’re getting those big bucks, it’s the fact that they’re big numbers and no one is taking advantage of pointing this out.
I’m sure if it was broadcast real loud, most people would not realize that it’s an investment to be run by them vs $ in their pockets, they’d just be overwhelmed by those big numbers; they’re right now overwhelmed by Hunter Biden’s $100,000.
And let’s look at the commissions, if it’s 1/2% mgmt fee Javanka pulls in $10million.
And if there’s a kicker for performance, possibly 20% of performance.
And Mnuchin is seasoned so he may command even more.
People on this site are not “most people.”
Mnuchin is a beneficiary of nepotism and isn’t a lot better at investing than Kushner, he just has a better resume. His judgment isn’t a lot better either: look at who he married.
Another “gift” whether for past or future ?:
Asaad Sam Hanna: “For the first time i see the Saudi TV mocking the US administration. [video]”
8:52 PM · Apr 11, 2022
There are a few things going on in this video but mainly they bluntly appeal to Trump (quite directly, in re “sleepy Joe”) and his -ists caricatures. It’s almost like whoever runs the KSA social media troll dept. wrote this skit. Gags of “Harris” literally propping up a forgetful “Biden” are repeated (such that their audience of one and millions gets it). They use “Harris” as a tool of emasculation, then rake the misogyny and racism angles by finishing with an aggressive “outburst” that resembles how the (proto-)Trumpists always portrayed Michelle Obama (in another two-fer they have “Biden” refer to “Harris” as First Lady).
Can’t speak to the accuracy of the poster’s implication that this is unusual; US GOPers were circulating this last night.
-Do as I decree or you shall be kidnapped and dismembered…who says the world isn’t as corrupt or even more so then the Roman Empire?
Well, guess they’re not journalists exposing the truth.
Do they really want to do business with MBS?
As I understand it was $500 million with the deal and the remainder released presumably according to performance evaluation schedules. MBS financial advisors are skeptical. If Truth Social is any indication that money may vanish into the ether. Both Mnuchin and Kushner majority funding is overseas.
Before Steve Mnuchin was Sec Treas, and before he was the owner of a lending bank, he was a movie producer. I just saw one of the movies he financed – Inherent Vice – with Joaquin Phoenix and Owen Wilson from 2014. It’s about a hippie P.I. who rescues his ex-girlfriend from a malevolent real estate developer. Mnuchin’s grubby fingers have been in a lot of different money-making pies over the years.
Don’t forget Jared’s joined at the hip to Rupert Murdoch. It was Rupert’s former wife, Wendi Deng, who reunited Ivanka and Jared after their break-up.
A nation that does not emphasize critical thinking in every step of education leaves itself exposed and vulnerable. I do not blame mental health failures but the onslaught of faith as a substitute for thought.
OldTulsaDude you are right-on. You can’t reason with people whose reason for being is based on the belief that their reward for a virtuous life here on earth is perpetual bliss in the afterlife–as someone once said, “when the last tree is cut, Jesus will come”
“Why do humans reason?”
“To WIN the argument. If truth happens along the way. so much the better.”
(Sperber & Mercier)
Basically s “Pen is Mightier Than the Sword” riff. Winning the argument has “adaptive utility” in evolution-speak.
Humans aren’t rational; they rationalize.
Always remembering that I do it too… that’s the hard part! lol.
I think there’s more to it than that. I have several Republican friends with graduate degrees who spout the same type of right wing tripe as Jensen. I have no expertise in the area of human psychology but I could swear there is something different about the WAY they think. I don’t have answers as to why but I have lots of questions.
I study this stuff in detail. Some brief observations from one of my blog posts reviewing Zoe Chance’s new book:
“Some things that bedevil our thinking, particularly as it goes to persuasion and influence:
There is no first-person singular present-tense active voice usage of the word “wrong.” No one ever says “I AM wrong.”
[props to Kathryn Schulz] Our aggregate default is that we’re right about everything. To the extent that we continue to survive, that’s an understandable assumption—as it pertains to minor, inconsequential issues, anyway, and it inexorably tilts us toward “confirmation bias.”
Our education system mostly tells us there’s one “right answer” to every question—lurking amid a boatload of “wrong ones.”
And, those who quickly alight on the “right answer” get reinforced and nurtured as they move through the system.
Being wrong is not a synonym for being “stupid” or ignorant.
Neither is “ignorant” a synonym for “stupid.” But it’s mostly epithetically spun that way
Humans “reason” to WIN the argument.
Should truth happen along the way, so much the better. (See “Why Do Humans Reason?” by Sperber & Mercier) Evolutionary adaptive utility, “The Pen is Mightier Than The Sword.”
He/She with the best story WINS!
Trial Lawyering 101. Prior to writing and movable type, stories were the whole ballgame. Hence, our evolved affinity.
Once you decide that X is right or wrong / good or bad, you cannot unring that bell.
A staple look-before-you-leap admonishment of mine back when I was teaching “Critical Thinking.”
If, when it’s all said and done, your logic is impeccable, and your facts and evidence are bulletproof, yet you remain unpersuasive, what have you really accomplished?”
Another classroom staple of mine. That one was “exceeding my brief” as it were, but my Sups never noticed or cared. Anyway, my overall teach-to-the-text priority focus as a piddly Adjunct necessarily had to be “OK, here’s how this stuff works. Take it or leave it.”
Like most evolutionary psychologists, Sperber and Mercier’s arguments are deeply flawed due to persistent foundational bias shared by most in the field.
Take what they say with a more than a grain of salt — try a whole salt mine.
Absolutely. In their paper the same title that I have, about half of the bulk of it is devoted to the pushback commentaries.
And, of course, there’s no way to experimentally test that hypothesis dispositively.
Nonetheless, how can large groups of individuals (e.g. Congress, courts, voters) view the same facts, evidence, and logic and still come to diametrically opposed conclusions?
Three years ago, AAAS published a piece on the so-called “science of deliberation.” It’s still “so called school in my mind.
Please summarize or analyze material that people can read elsewhere.
College degrees are not an antidote to either gullibility or programming.
I’m someone who worked in math ed for ~25 years, has lived for decades with treatment-resistant major depression and spent time with others struggling with diverse mental health issues, and has spent a fair amount of time debating Trumpists elsewhere. I’d encourage you to see it as both-A-and-B (mental health and critical thinking / evidence-based reasoning) rather than B-but-not-A, as people’s mental health issues can limit how much mental energy they have to devote to learning, how able they are to consider evidence to the contrary of their beliefs and to change their minds when evidence warrants, how able they are to see mistakes as part of learning something complex rather than as a reflection of their self-worth, … Both A and B are challenging to support effectively at the scale needed.
…see mistakes as part of learning something complex rather than as a reflection of their self-worth…”
Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner.
Yep another way of expressing it is “ a culture that opts for ignorance over knowledge is asking for trouble.”
While I agree with you about critical thinking, I’m with civil in that this is a two-part problem.
The mental health crises in this country — including ills redirected through addiction — were already at chronically-acute levels before the pandemic came and said hold my beer.
The situation with adolescents especially — many more of them in crisis due to limited/interrupted access to outpatient programs, besides the stability, for some, of their peer groups — is both heartbreaking and gives pause for the future. [And thanks to civil for highlighting this point, I don’t know how well they could be learning, much less honing critical habits.]
They are the index patients of the sick American family.
Male aggression is really worth studying. Interesting how in a patriarchal society there is so little interest in the destructive male psyche.
Unexamined sanctioned aggression entwined with patriarchal culture and power structures.
What could go wrong, has.
It’s absolutely critical to note that Q*n*n took off because Joel Kaplan, Mark Zuckerberg and Peter Thiel actively pushed it on Facebook users..
Internal critics documented how Facebook’s algorithms were curated not just neutrally for extremist ideas but specifically for right wing points of view. Joel Kaplan stepped in to exempt right wing media which buttressed Q*n*n from Facebook standards, and worked to protect individual bad actors.
Facebook employees have documented how Facebook execs have blocked efforts to shut down bot armies, and most critically Kaplan and Zuckerberg have spearheaded efforts to only play whack a mole by chasing groups instead of shutting down the accounts of individuals spreading the conspiracy.
And it is critical to stress the degree to which this is ideological, not economic. Over and over Zuckerberg and Kaplan have intervened in ways which have stained Facebook’s brand and damaged their demographics to turn Facebook into a conspiracy machine. It would be as if Apple decided to rebrand themselves away from a company for everyone to a company focused on old rightwing cranks.
And the Fox News — CNN experiment shows the power of just one-way propaganda.
Add the hyper-charged, curated, two-way, pusher and user component of social media and you get propaganda crack addicts. The first one’s free . . . .
One of the things that needs to be highlighted is the degree to which Fox is the follower these days — their role has become reinforcing and “legitimizing” the message that originates on Facebook and Youtube, rather than creating it.
Disturbingly, that’s the role that some parts of the legitimate press have chosen too, although they’ll whine furiously when confronted. They played that role obsessively in 2016 by the way they covered obvious Russian disinformation as legitimate, they’ve taken a turn in that direction with Covid and vaccines, and as MW has pointed out, they’re headed that way now with the Hunter Biden hack designed to defend against Giuliani’s looming indictment.
That Ken Vogel appears to be hopelessly compromised with Giuliani and the Times sees no reason to change course as the Russians murder thousands speaks to the absolute rot there. They are happy to play the role of Fox on steroids when it comes to amplifying Facebook’s promotion of Q*n*n conspiracies, and are too dumb to see the risks.
The warm electronic hug of the Fox confirmation bias. All the way down to the final intubation.
Good article on conspiracy tracing
I know which relatives I have stopped seeing posts from after blocking certain providers they kept reposting
Make. Facebook. Pay.
How? Why? Do you understand the First Amendment?
Facebook needs to decide if it is a publisher of others’ content for which it stands behind American principles of free speech, or whether it is an editor of others’ content for which the principle does not apply.
As it stands now, Facebook _is_ an editor which involves itself in significant efforts to molest free speech on its platform while it tries to pass itself off as a simple publisher. And it is failing miserably in both regards.
The carrot and the stick is both Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Facebook has long already been engaging in activities which run afoul of Section 230 safe harbor.
It’s long past time to either hold Facebook liable in its negligent editing of user content now that it has long chosen to engage in the editing of user content.
It must be either/or for these social media companies, otherwise we already know they will exploit the best and worst of each condition.
This is EXACTLY right. It is not free speech when you cannot readily see what the algorithms are doing.
Um, yes, it kind of is. People advocating what Silly is as to §230 are fools of the highest order. Start here. The is an encyclopedia’s wort of additional argument. You fuck with §230, in threee years, or much less, you will be whining about the result.
Algorithms that subvert the actual flow of information to promote a particular viewpoint, as in suppressing one viewpoint over another, are not allowing free speech. That is the equivalent of lying by omission.
How would you suggest addressing this problem ?
I mean that they were preferencing content. As BobCon said above at 4/12 9:44am:
“Internal critics documented how Facebook’s algorithms were curated not just neutrally for extremist ideas but specifically for right wing points of view.”
If they want to be Fox News, they shouldn’t claim to be an innocent publisher upholding 230.
Any algorithm that pushes content into people’s views will necessarily preference some content over other content. Yes, it’s a problem that the algorithm is not politically neutral, but preferencing extremism and ideological bubbles and disinformation are serious problems even if the algorithm promotes these on the left as much as on the right. And Section 230 isn’t key here; it addresses publication, not the potentially harmful design of algorithms.
I’ve carried out research involving human subjects in education, and in a sense they’re experimenting on people without going through human subjects review (regulated by 45 CFR 46), except their goal isn’t “to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge,” but to benefit their business model.
You mistake the problem, and the solution.
There is nothing wrong with 230, and as it applies to hosting others’ speech.
The problem is that the providers are engaging in more than hosting; they’re engaging in speech themselves by its modification or suppression of users’ speech.
That’s fine too; but they need to be liable for their own activities beyond 230 hosting of others’ speech.
They need to decide if they’re content hostess or content editors. 230 protects the hosting; it does not protect the editing.
Complete rubbish. They have a moral duty to do that, but it is insane to think that the government should be the determiner of content.
It’s not moral duty for them; where their policy draws any line is just their own whim, it’s a corporate commercial decision.
Those who more tightly edit versus host users’ content might find favor with certain groups in the marketplace.
But to facilitate end use of their services they’re using backbone infrastructure that was paid for by federal tax dollars, which is still even a different issue.
They can be waived for their hosting, but If they screw up their editing, they need to be taken to task; this implicates no Section 230 protections. It’s holding corporations accountable for their commercial actions.
Facebook made a lot of money off of editing Q messages. Let them subsidize the cost of mitigating the damage they caused, for the portion they caused.
Eh, no. Government control of content is a no go. People that advocate for that are idiots. It is not just §230, it is the First Amendment. Do you think the government led by Trump should decide all this? Really??
You’re not understanding that government is _already_ involved.
The shield on liability is a significant boon to commercial corporations.
Attack it from different angle: that liability protection is quid pro quo part of federal legislation.
Is American public deriving equal benefit to the value of that corporate give-away, or does anything need re-balancing?
You’re an idiot if you think things are fine as is after what we just went through in 2016, 2020, and all of the explicit foreign threats to exploit American social media, some even being stated within this very week.
Facebook’s costs are being subsidized by US government in clamping down on these attacks. Let them pony up some additional effort because they’ve been a willing participant to taking in their $.
[Knock it off. Ad hominems particularly those aimed at moderators/contributors will get you booted. /~Rayne]
Oh, I understand just fine, thanks.
bmaz, I am not arguing 230, I have no problem with that. I am sincerely asking how do we counteract the disinformation the Russians pushed thru Facebook, so that we minimize their impact in the mid-terms and ’24 elections ? Because if we cannot do that, we have no hope of fair elections.
Sure you want to control them. What if a more hostile government wants to control you? Because the is the upshot of your suggestion.
I understand that, things always have to be considered in light of the other party being in control. But we have to be able to counteract the disinformation campaign. Putin and his mouthpieces on Russian television stated yesterday that they are coming for us again in the mid-terms, and they are going to work to get “our guy, Trump” re-elected” in ’24.
How do we fight that when Facebook and other internet entities end up facilitating their lies ?
I do not know. But I do think this is an extremely ill advised action.
One area is to enforce electioneering laws and regulations already on the books.
In paid content alone, the prime act of 2016 Russian active measures included pushing about 5,000 different illegal posts and images for which Facebook was paid handsomely for by verifiably known Russian accounts.
That’s low-hanging fruit: Facebook could have and can do much more to stop that.
The unpaid attacks by foreign agents defrauding Facebook with bogus accounts are the more difficult to crack down on.
But at least we can all agree it’s bad for Facebook to take Russian intel dollars to help attack US.
Best to not feed the beast by joining it. Facebook is more a social disease than a social media. I eschew it (gesundheit). Twitter and TikTok too.
The ways the system finds to exploit social media would be amazing if not that they are sickening:
https://www. washingtonpost .com/nation/2022/04/12/santa-ana-police-disney-music/
So, the police are taking to blasting copyrighted music to ensure that any recordings of their conduct get taken down over copyright policies.
Of course, the correct action would be for YouTube to note the copyrighted music is incidental to the recording, and perfectly fine; or the copyright holders sue the police Departments for cease & desist.
The absolute wrong action is removing videos of police misconduct because the abusers are exploiting social media institutions.
That is a fairly bad reading of §230. Your analysis would doom all social media. Should Facebook do better? Obviously. But trying to thread the needle you are is indeed silly.
Nah. The bad reading is the one which allows abusive police to exploit poorly applied acts of billion (trillion?) dollar corporations’ wrong-headed policies to facilitate more police brutality.
The better take here than yours is less exploitation, less badly applied actions, less wrong-headed policies, and of course, less police brutality being covered up.
Laughably naive and ill informed. But thanks for the input.
Thanks for this Marcy,
This guy is a victim of a military grade disinformation campaign. In doing what he thought was necessary due to the propaganda he consumed he did the wrong thing and now he’s going to be held responsible for it. But he’s not the “enemy”.
The ones making $$ and gaining power by spreading the propaganda and pretending to be “just asking questions” are the enemies who must be held to account and stopped by outing them and removing them from their positions of power and influence and jailing them if it’s called for.
I find the whole thing very very sad as it also remains very very dangerous.
[Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use a more differentiated username when you comment next as we have several community members named “Alexi,” “Alex,” “Alexander,” “Alexandra.” Thanks. /~Rayne]
I never followed the Podesta Papers – I already knew that Hillary was loathsome, and I voted for her anyway.
Can someone refer me to an article about how the PP were turned into misinfo?
Or were they just put dialogue to the stories we already knew?
I considered helping you out, but then I already knew it would be a waste of time.
Oh for god’s sake, would it kill you to just give me a link?
[Welcome back to emptywheel. Perhaps it’s not been obvious in your 31 comments since March 2019 that the community here isn’t like that of other blogs or reddit. Members are expected to bring their A game and do their own homework. We have a search tool (upper right hand of site) and tagging (bottom of each post) which makes it easy for you to find content published here by keyword or topic. Rather than barking at a valued long-time community member, you could have used search or clicked on the John Podesta tag at the bottom of this post. /~Rayne]
Hi there Andrew. Don’t do that. Nobody here owes you anything whatsoever.
Do they at least owe me civility? Is
“I considered helping you out, but then I already knew it would be a waste of time.”
your idea of an A-game?
[The comment in which you made your ask was off putting; you bashed Clinton but then disclosed you couldn’t be bothered to do any research which might have changed your own opinion. In the little over 30 comments you’ve published here since March 2019, you’ve been confrontational with other community members asking them for evidence/proof without having first made the effort to get to know the site and community. You’ve displayed less-than-good faith and then expect a well-respected community member who has nearly 12k comments here since the site launched +14 years ago to make nice and roll over for you? And now you’re getting confrontational with a moderator/contributor. Knock it off. And by the way, you’re fucking welcome for the links I gave you. /~Rayne]
What??? And, by the way, nobody was “uncivil” to you.
This is sad to read. Unfortunately, while mass disinformation campaigns are effective for radicalization, recovery has to be mostly an individual process. But, as Bill Wilson and Bob Smith discovered with alcoholics, cultists and conspiracy believers can be strongly affected by those who have already been deprogrammed.
Information Integrity: Bring your suggestions to the NSF.
As a part of an interagency working group on information integrity, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Networking and Information Technology Research and Development National Coordination Office are requesting information about misinformation and disinformation. The goal is to “understand ways in which the Federal Government might enable research and development activities to advance the trustworthiness of information, mitigate the effects of information manipulation, and foster an environment of trust and resilience in which individuals can be discerning consumers of information.”
Jensen says: “I think we were taught from a young age to hate Russia and all of this stuff…” This guy is 42 years old, 7 years younger than me. The Soviet Union fell when he was 11, hardcore Cold War Russia-hating had not really been a thing for years before then, and we had decades of cooperation after that during which Russia wasn’t being demonized at all. I doubt Jensen has ever met even one person who still had a reflexive “Russians are evil” attitude due to the Cold War, unless it was an elderly Bircher who refused to believe Khrushchev was gone.
I mention this not because it’s any more absurd than the flat-out delusional things he believes, but because it’s a good example of a kind of propaganda-based belief that’s not really delusional– it’s based on reality, it would be a valid statement about a previous generation, but it’s not applicable to this person’s life or the state of the world as it is, and he clearly didn’t stop for a second to consider whether it was before adopting it. And unfortunately there are lots of people who are less disoriented than this guy and are still vulnerable to that kind of thinking. The equivalent on the left would be a person whose belief that the Democrats are just the same as the Republicans is based entirely on things Bill Clinton did when that person was in grade school (and I have met a few of those).
I grew up in the 50s and 60s. We weren’t taught to hate Russia (or China): we were taught to hate Communism. And some of the stuff I see the GOP encouraging is straight out of that part of my education, the part that says “this is what Communists do, so don’t do this”.
While reading the transcript of Jensen’s 1/8/21 FBI interview I was impressed by how well the local police handled their unexpected early morning visitor (Jensen) at the their station and how calmly the FBI agents who arrived shortly thereafter took him in stride.
I assume they had received a BOLO for this guy given their proximity to his home, but Jan 6th had occurred less than 2 days earlier. It was too early to know the big picture, yet they seemed to know to treat Jensen with kid gloves and allow him to prattle on and on.
Jensen comes across as guileless as he demonstrates during that interview (actually, more like a monologue) how sadly gullible he is to conspiracy thinking.
Nevertheless, this made me laugh:
“[Jensen] [snip] When Trump tweets, it bleeps my phone.You don’t know how many tweets I — you know, how many alerts I’ve gotten because of that man.
[FBI agent] Yeah.”
But his follow on comment was sad/creepy:
“[Jensen] And I read every one of them.”
“… and I smoke every hit of crack that shows up in my face….”
Months ago when there was a discussion of Q-Anon pdaly posted this link. I read it then, and found it fascinating. I offer it as a complement to, an addition to, the points raised above. It’s a long read, but worth it imo.
~A Game Designer’s Analysis Of QAnon
Playing with reality~
Thanks for reposting. I was thinking about that article too while reading Jensen’s sometimes disjointed thoughts in the FBI interview.
Jensen states he was convinced Q could ‘see the future’ when the Q drops would predict an action or word that he soon witnessed on the news. It reminded me of the movie “Runaway Jury” in which two opposing lawyers are eventually convinced a mysterious middle man (who was quietly demanding money from them if they wanted to win the case–the win would go to the highest bidder) was somehow controlling the empaneled jury, correctly predicting such juror behavior as identical clothing choice one day, pat phrases another day, illness, etc.
Perhaps the Q predictions were vague enough to apply to many future events, but do any Q drops in the lead up to Jan 6 show evidence of communication/planning between QAnon and Trumps’ team (Flynn, Trump, others) to tailor the message? Or did Flynn, Trump et al just ‘run with it’ and hope QAnon would support (without payment) Team Trump if they used the code words in the published Q drops to lend Q credibility? If the Trump team funded QAnon then what?
And thank you for posting it in the first place. I had bookmarked it, it turned out, so it was easy to find.
As to your questions at the end of your comment, imo, there was no coordination between QAnon and Trump (or Trump’s team) in either direction. There didn’t need to be. It was already baked in. You’re seeing wooden pieces on the floor that you think look like an arrow pointing to part of the wall. (ref. to that game designer article). imho, anyway. 🌵
Thanks for the link and I don’t see too much difference between this and George Creel’s CPI during WW1 where the American public were convinced in a very short time to support American participation in the war except that it was the government pushing out the propaganda. Posters of German soldiers with spiked helmets and mustaches leading off 12 year old blonde girls by the hand and the 4 minute sound bite pushed by 150,000 volunteers enraged Americans in a rather short period of time enough to support American participation in the war. It means in my mind that propaganda, they renamed it advertising, is especially effective if done right. How do you stop it when almost everyone you know is spouting the same ideas is the challenge, how do you get people to think critically?
Perhaps if they taught the history of CPI in school rather than the idealized history of American participation in WW1 or along with it it might get some traction. Many Americans aren’t even aware there was a pandemic possibly started in the Midwest going on at that time. I don’t see that happening and Americans remain especially vulnerable to propaganda.
Wow – just wow! I downloaded the Jensen FBI interview and got only to page 27 or 28 until he went so far off the rails I had to put it down. This guy has serious mental health issues and it is truly sad that he had to go to DC, lose his job and jeopardize his families future because low-lifes like Ron Watkins, Rudy Giuliani and Sydney Powell exploited his insecurities and paranoia for monetary gain or personal aggrandizement.
I just finished reading at about 3AM,
after having put it down at 11PM, but then not being able to sleep.
“truly sad” = A fvcking MORAL PERVERSION.
I was going to say CRIME, but I know it’s not.
I have another harrowing long read that I was going to suggest in general. But it’s also (familiarity with) true stories like these that can bring a Jensen-type to the trough where the Q folks take them over the edge.
Before Jerry Sandusky, Penn State football had another serial sexual predator. This is the untold story of his crimes and the fight to bring him to justice.
Doug JENSEN https://storage.courtlistener.com/recap/gov.uscourts.dcd.225865/gov.uscourts.dcd.225865.69.1_1.pdf
Doug [“if the TV tells you blue is an ugly color and it tells you that a thousand times, you’re going to believe that blue is an ugly color. And you’re going to think it’s your thought, but it’s not”] Jensen, posterboy for QAnon, knows how the magic works and yet is still susceptible to the magic trick himself.
I really appreciated this little section:
I got somewhat confused about the man whose eyes are so bright but then so dead–is that the old man he’s referring to? Because when he’s talking about the monument he starts taking about that again and I’m wondering if he means George Washington? And how did he see George’s eyes?
Yes. He was quite obsessed with those eyes…but I don’t know.
That starts on [pdf20/148] It sounds like the Capitol Police Chief.
He thinks it might be Chief SUND, but I don’t think that ever gets established.
I’m not so sure I see the interview (yep, read the whole thing, felt very sad through much of it) as an indictment of mental health treatment (lack thereof) int he US.
Clearly, there were things Doug should have gotten as a kid he did not, and if there is an indictment it is about what a lousy job we do with kids who, for whatever reason, end up in the system.
But as an adult working stuff?–I don’t see that anyone would have pegged him for someone needing mental health treatment. He didn’t suddenly abandon his job and home, he asked for time off and by the way will you approve unemployment too? Working stiff, saves money so his kid can go to college, dealing with physical pain (not clear if there was a work injury there somewhere) but basically getting by. Yes, this would be exactly the kind of person therapy could benefit enormously, but would not be identified by others as someone needing intervention. (Yes, mental health services are pretty bad in cases where people do say–hey, there’s something wrong here, this person needs help). In another era he would have had a constant obsession with the oil companies who suppress the 1000 mile a gallon carburetor or income taxes being against the constitution. The vast majority of such people just live their lives, a small few get involved in small Posse Commitatus groups and a much smaller few do something extreme by themselves or as part of a very small cohort. It takes these other forces to bombard this kind of person with messages to motive thousands of them to show up at the same place at the same hour and break down the gates.
JENSEN mentions FLYNN 2x and “digital soldier” 3x.
We talked a little bit about FLYNN’ and his”digital soldiers” here:
Also, this came out yesterday:
In Conference Call Before Riot, a Plea to ‘Descend on the Capitol’ Days before Jan. 6, [12/30/20] [Jason SULLIVAN] a onetime aide to Roger J. Stone Jr. told Trump backers to make lawmakers meeting to finalize the 2020 election results feel that “people are breathing down their necks.” https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/12/us/politics/jan-6-capitol-riot-sullivan-trump.html Alan Feuer April 12, 2022 Updated 4:23 p.m.
Flynn used the same phrase “digital soldiers” a week after the 2016 election when he spoke in front of the Young Americans for Freedom.
That speech looks and sounds so much more sinister now.
Yup. I linked to that transcript you did in the comment thread upstream.
Thanks, I missed it, obviously. It’s been one of those days. LOL
ADDER: Wondering why someone chose to archive this Flynn Parler message on November 12, 2020 —
It says ‘four months ago’ — was he ramping up his digital troops as early as July as part of his ‘insurgency’?
Sorry, I didn’t mean it that way, RAYNE!
It’s great to have the direct link here.
5:47 PM · Mar 30, 2022
So this story about SULLIVAN has some really strange twists, and
12/30/20 was a really PACKED day in MAGAland.
This must be one of ALEXANDER’s permit areas.
And the reason the call was recorder is that members of 1st Amendment Praetorian [linked to FLYNN] basically moved into Staci BURKE’s house against her will, saying she needed protection.
[I misspelled her BURK’s name above]
It’s one of the 1AP members who wanted to be on the SULLIVAN phone call. Someone asks about TRUMP imposing the Insurrection Act.