Mark Penn, the former chief strategist for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, said Tuesday that $100,000 worth of Russian ads on Facebook certainly did not sway the 2016 presidential election.
Appearing on a segment for Fox News, Penn, who also was a chief strategist for Bill Clinton’s 1996 presidential campaign, listed a number of reasons why the ads likely had a minuscule impact on the political contest.
“Fifty-six percent were after the election … most of them were not to the swing states … [and] most of them didn’t mention candidates,” he said on Fox & Friends.
“It really is interesting when you look at the numbers … her [Clinton’s] budget you said was $2.4 billion, and Russia spent $100,000,” one of the hosts said.
Penn also wrote an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, which was published Sunday and titled “You Can’t Buy The Presidency for $100,000.”
“The fake news about fake news is practically endless. Americans worried about Russia’s influence in the 2016 election have seized on a handful of Facebook ads as though there weren’t also three 90-minute debates, two televised party conventions, and $2.4 billion spent on last year’s campaign,” Penn opened in the opinion piece. “The danger is that bending facts to fit the Russia story line may nudge Washington into needlessly and recklessly regulating the internet and curtailing basic freedoms.”
Richard Bennett, one of the original creators of the WiFi system and a tech consultant, agrees.
“For all its the emotional appeal, the idea that Russia was able to change the outcome of the presidential election with a $100,000 Facebook ad buy is absurd. If it were true, then every political consultant in the U.S. would be out of a job,” Bennett told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Hillary and her supporters spent lots of money on social media campaigns, just not as wisely as the Trump campaign. The election turned out the way it did because Hillary not only failed to win the white working class vote, she didn’t even bother to ask for it. Voters don’t like being disrespected.”
While the amount of ads was very meager relative to the larger, massive political advertisement ecosystem, it’s still worrisome to lawmakers who fear Russian companies that may have connections to the Kremlin both were and are trying to cultivate an even further schismatic political landscape in America.
And due to these concerns from both the public and elected officials that Russia interfered with the election, even helping Trump win, Facebook later handed over the relevant evidence to congressional investigators, including special counsel Robert Mueller who is investigating the claims of Russian interference.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised during a Facebook Live broadcast to protect “election integrity.” He later expressed atonement during the closing hours of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur for other people using the platform “to divide people.” The entrepreneurial wunderkind also apologized for once calling fake news’ impact on the election a “pretty crazy” idea, while also conversely defending his company on several occasions.
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