A mid-run disinformation special in the United States

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On November 8, Channel 1, Russia’s main public broadcaster, reported that NBC News’ early vote tracking system revealed fraud in the US midterm elections. The BBC Monitoring reporter Francis Scarre posted a Channel 1 clip on Twitter.

Showing the NBC charts, the Channel 1 anchor said:

“NBC News reports that 42 million people have already taken part in early voting. Some of them, of course, voted by mail by throwing small envelopes in mailboxes, and the result of this mail-in vote is unlikely! The Democrats win. The Democrats obtained 45%, the Republicans 35% and 20% for the others.

The host then continued:

“It seems to me that Joseph Biden will soon be able to knock out of the Guinness Book of World Records the President of Liberia, who in 1927 won the most fraudulent presidential elections. 234,000 voters voted for him while there were only 15,000 registered voters in the country. Go Joseph Biden!

The claim that the Democrats were winning is false because it misrepresents NBC numbers as results when they are not. And there is no evidence of widespread fraud, if any, in United States voting in 50 states and the District of Columbia.

NBC data shows the party affiliation of those who voted in early voting. The website is careful to note that this is only a partial tally. The tally so far does not include the millions more who will vote on November 8 in person at polling stations.

More importantly, the numbers don’t mean the Democrats are winning; only that more Democrats voted early. The numbers don’t show which candidates get those votes, which are secret.

A screenshot of NBC News’ midterm early voting chart used by Channel 1 in Russia to fabricate voter fraud information. November 8, 2022.

It’s a case of here we go again. US officials say Russia interfered in the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections. And now they are up to their old tricks.

On November 6, The New York Times reported that “Russia reactivated its trolls and bots ahead of the US midterm elections.” Citing three social media research firms, Recorded Future, Graphika and Mondiant, the Times said the Russian campaign is using fake accounts “impersonating rabid Americans” to “fuel the world’s most contentious political and cultural issues.” country today”.

Channel 1 chose to highlight economic problems, possibly because the United States and the European Union passed punitive sanctions against the Russian economy following the war in Ukraine.

“The midterm elections will determine the future of the American political system, which, let me remind you, is jam-packed,” the host said in his Nov. 8 report. “In America, there is a 40-year high inflation, unemployment, exorbitant prices for gasoline and groceries. It is a battle for survival.

These are issues highlighted midterm by conservative Republican candidates who hope to take control of Congress from the Democrats and deal a blow to their party’s chairman, Joe Biden.

Russia’s current interference campaigns are “much smaller than those in the 2016 election” and use less popular social networks like Gab, Parler and Getter, the Times said. Still, they “can engage the public in much more targeted influence operations because those on these platforms are typically American conservatives who may be more accepting of conspiratorial claims,” ​​the article said.

The accounts are linked to the St. Petersburg Internet Research Agency, cybersecurity group Recorded Future reported.

The Internet Research Agency, also known as Russia’s “troll farm”, is controlled by Yevegeny Prigozhin, a confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin who also owns the private military company Wagner, whose mercenaries fight in Ukraine .

The U.S. Department of Justice charged Prigozhin, his troll farm, and its employees with malicious interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. On November 7, Prigozhin bragged about infiltrating U.S. politics and said that he wouldn’t stop.

The FBI search warrant against Evgeny Prigozhin, a confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin, owner of PMC Wagner and

The FBI search warrant against Evgeny Prigozhin, a confidant of Russian President Vladimir Putin, owner of PMC Wagner and “troll farm”.

“Gentlemen, we have intervened. We interfere and we will interfere. Carefully, precisely, surgically and in our own way, as we know how to do. During our one-time operations, we will remove the kidneys and liver at the same time,” Prigozhin said in a social media post published by his press service.

The UK’s Guardian reported that Prigozhin’s statement “underlines the value of such interference operations”, namely that “it is not necessarily important that the interference actually succeeds in a significant way”.

“Instead, an important part of his function is actively to sow distrust in the health of democratic institutions – including by suggesting inordinate reach and capacity.”

Wagner mercenaries have been charged with war crimes in Syria and Ukraine. The company is currently opening training centers in Russian provinces bordering Ukraine, according to the Institute for the Study of War in Washington, D.C.

The think tank said Prigozhin, who recently criticized the Russian Defense Ministry’s war effort, appears “to be trying to grow his Wagner-centric power base in Russia while undermining unified Russian operations in Ukraine.”

“Prigozhin continues to portray himself as a Russian strongman in foreign affairs by promoting his own involvement in election interference,” the ISW said.

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