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ANALYSIS: Russian Trolls To Blame for Everything Bad (That Happens to Democrats)

New York Times investigates Putin's role in anti-Semite Linda Sarsour's downfall

• September 19, 2022 5:19 pm

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When bad things happen to Democratic politicians, their crackhead sons, or prominent liberal activists, the mainstream media rush in—like firefighters to a burning building—and find out who is really to blame. In most cases, the culprit is a crooked alliance of evil Republicans, gullible American voters, and Russian trolls spewing disinformation on the internet.

Consider, for example, the headline of a New York Times report published on Sunday: "How Russian Trolls Helped Keep the Women's March Out of Lock Step." The Times heavily implies that Russian trolls played a major role in the anti-Semitism scandal that engulfed the Women's March during the Trump administration. The report laments that Women's March cofounder Linda Sarsour, a left-wing activist with a flair for anti-Semitism, was "targeted" by several dozen Russian social media accounts that posted "10 or 20 times per day" in an effort to highlight the organization's ties to Louis Farrakhan and other anti-Semites.

The article does not specify what role the Russians might have played in terms of forcing Sarsour to write that "nothing is creepier than Zionism" while promoting a video denouncing Israel as an apartheid state comparable to Iran and North Korea, among her many other controversial public statements. Sarsour and another Women's March cofounder, Tamika Mallory, were public supporters of Farrakhan's organization, the Nation of Islam. Mallory once described Farrakhan, who has denounced Jews as "termites" and said Adolf Hitler was a "very great man," as "the GOAT," or "greatest of all time," and reportedly suggested that Jewish organizers of the Women's March needed to confront the role of Jews in perpetuating racism.

It remains unclear the extent to which Russian trolls compelled a spokesman for Joe Biden's presidential campaign to issue a statement noting that the then-candidate "obviously condemns [Sarsour's] views," including her support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement, which aims to weaken the Jewish state's economy. "Joe Biden has been a strong supporter of Israel and a vehement opponent of anti-Semitism his entire life," campaign spokesman Andrew Bates wrote in August 2020 after Sarsour participated in a livestream event with Democratic activists.

A number of prominent anti-Semites, including Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D., Mich.), condemned the Biden campaign for attempting to disavow Sarsour. "I am so sick and tired of folks going after @lsarsour and other Palestinian activists for speaking the truth about oppression and injustice," Tlaib wrote. Earlier this year, the congresswoman spoke at a rally alongside Osama Siblani, an anti-Israel activist who has praised terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah and called on Arabs around the world to "fight" the Jewish state with "stones," "guns," or "their bare hands."

In 2018, Sarsour rushed to defend Tlaib's fellow Squad member, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.), who was widely condemned for making anti-Semitic comments, by accusing Omar's critics of demonstrating their "allegiance to Israel." The American Jewish Committee, presumably egged on by Russian trolls, issued a statement slamming Sarsour's inflammatory remarks. "Accusing Jews of dual loyalty is one of the oldest and most pernicious anti-Semitic tropes," the group wrote on Twitter. "No surprise to see it coming from @LSarsour. How long will progressive leaders continue to look the other way in the face of this hate?"

The Times report was based on data provided by Advance Democracy Inc., a nonprofit group whose founder Daniel Jones has ties to the discredited "Steele dossier" that purported to reveal that Donald Trump colluded with Vladimir Putin to rig the 2016 election. This information was not disclosed in the article.

In any event, the sheer magnitude of the Russian campaign to undermine Sarsour with accusations of anti-Semitism raises serious questions about Russia's involvement in a host of other so-called scandals involving Democrats and their activist allies. The Times may want to examine the contents of ex-CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin's laptop for evidence that Russian trolls coerced him to masturbate in front of his colleagues. It's certainly possible, or even likely, that Russia played a role in radicalizing Toobin's former colleagues Brian Stelter and John Harwood, which deepened their commitment to partisan hackery and ultimately cost them their jobs at the network.

The Times is presumably already looking into the possibility that Russian trolls manipulated the NFL into scheduling its Opening Day on Sunday, Sept. 11, which just happened to coincide with Game 1 of the WNBA Finals between the Connecticut Sun and the Las Vegas Aces. The exciting WNBA showdown on ABC averaged 550,000 viewers, which was roughly equivalent to what CNN's Don Lemon pulled in last week, but roughly 11.4 million shy of the average viewership for Game 1 of the NBA Finals in June. Front Office Sports suggested that competing with the NFL on Sunday might have damped the WNBA's ratings. The extent of Putin's involvement remains to be seen.