Politics

CNN’s John Avlon Claims Russian Social Media Posts Helped Sway Election

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Nick Givas Media And Politics Reporter
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CNN senior political analyst John Avlon claimed Russia’s use of social media targeted identity politics, saying Americans are “easily duped” by dividers Wednesday on “New Day.”

“What’s really stunning is how Russia’s efforts to spread misinformation over social media preyed on America’s identity politics divides,” Avlon said. “They targeted tribes on the far right and far left. And to look through their characters of identity politics is to see how easily duped we are by dividers.”

He then went through a series of popular memes and attributed their creation to “Russian trolls.” (RELATED: Democratic Senator Claims The Government Hasn’t Done Enough To Protect Americans From Russia On Social Media)

“For example, Russian trolls targeted memes to the religious right in the name of the so-called army of Jesus,” he continued.

“Here’s a picture of Jesus arm-wrestling the devil as a proxy war for Clinton versus Trump … There’s even an image of Jesus wearing a MAGA hat. And if you liked these, you were duped by the Russians.”

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“On the left, Russian trolls also targeted the African-American activist community, pretending to care about Black Lives Matter and victims of police violence … At the same time Russian trolls were pumping up the so-called Blue Lives Matter movement, showing police funerals and blaming them on Black Lives Matter activists.”

“Supposedly patriotic gun rights memes were created and promoted by Russian trolls, like this image declaring ‘The Second Amendment is my gun permit,'” he added.

Avlon also blamed heightened immigration rhetoric on Russian hackers and said memes celebrating the heritage of the Confederate flag and attacks on John McCain were all manufactured to influence voters.

“The goal of this kind of disinformation is to confuse, divide and distract — to create anger and apathy, sometimes with the specific goal of driving down election turnout,” Avlon said.

He also called anyone who shared or liked the memes “useful idiots” while preaching about the weakness of American society.

“On the most fundamental level, the Russian trolls understood that our identity politics divides, the kind of focus on common enemies rather than our common humanity is the real source of weakness in our society. And they exploited it with unwitting Americans’ help,” Avlon said. “Now there’s a phrase used by the mass-murdering founder of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin, that applies to folks who liked and shared these links — useful idiots.”

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