Horst D. Deckert

It’s That Time Again: MSM Launches ‘Muh Russia’ Election Narrative As Brands Collude To Silence Dissent

Wall Street Journal reports that the Russian government has launched a ‘whole-of-government” effort to influence the US presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.

While the Democratic party melts down over Joe Biden’s cognitive decline – an obvious risk to US national security, the 2024 election wouldn’t be complete without a Trump-Russia narrative.

To that end, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Russian government has launched a ‘whole-of-government” effort to influence the US presidential election in favor of Donald Trump – who, for some reason, Russia held off on invading Ukraine while he was president (and ostensibly wouldn’t have sent $175 billion and counting in US aid to combat).

Citing unnamed ‘senior US intelligence officials,’ the Journal writes:

The officials didn’t mention Trump by name, but said that Russia’s current activity—described as covert social-media use and other online propaganda efforts—mirrored the 2020 and 2016 election cycles, when Moscow also favored Trump and sought to undermine Democratic candidates, according to U.S. intelligence agencies.

Of course, Russia’s 2016 ‘influence campaign’ amounted to roughly $100,000 in Facebook ads, which “didn’t reference any specific presidential candidate, or even the election itself,” largely targeting BLM members and ‘Pokemon Go‘ aficionados.

Insidious.

That said, the officials say that the activity witnessed so far this election cycle “isn’t on the scale or scope seen in 2016, when Russia’s actions included a hack-and-leak of Democratic Party emails, rudimentary cyber-probing of some state election systems and other actions intended to undermine Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”

Hacked emails, you say?

Seth Rich was murdered in Washington, DC on July 10, 2016 shortly after Rich had provided proof to WikiLeaks showing the DNC and Clinton campaign blocked Bernie Sanders from the 2016 Democratic nomination.

Here’s Julian Assange being asked about it pic.twitter.com/CEj6IWX6Hb

— ♨️ BASEDLAYER🌡️ (@basedlayer80) June 26, 2024

Edit: And as ZeroHedge reader ‘The Wolverine’ notes in the comments below: ‘Remember that time Adam Schiff interviewed the President of CrowdStrike and refused to release the transcript for months and months?’

According to the new report, Russia is seeking to influence specific voting groups, including those in swing states, and promote divisive narratives while denigrating specific politicians, the anonymous US intelligence officials told reporters, without mentioning the specific voters or politicians who have been allegedly targeted.

But wait, there’s more!

The Kremlin “is also working to influence members of Congress and is broadly seeking to undermine U.S. support for Ukraine in its war with Russia,” according to the anonymous officials – one of whom said that Russia was the “pre-eminent threat” to the election, while Iran was a ‘lesser threat at the moment,’ and aims to be a ‘chaos agent’ by exacerbating social tensions.

“We have observed actors tied to Iran’s government posing as activists online, seeking to encourage protests, and even providing financial support to protesters,” said Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, in a separate Tuesday statement.

Brands Collude to Silence

While democracy grapples with this new Russia election malarkey, we can’t forget that free speech threatens narrative control efforts.

To that end, the world’s largest brands, owned by elites, are now colluding to control online speech, according to an interim staff report released on Thursday by the House Judiciary Committee.

🚨 NEW REPORT: How the World’s Biggest Brands Seek to Control Online Speech

New info reveals that woke advertisers and brands are colluding together to attack people like @elonmusk, @joerogan, political candidates, and news organizations.

Read it here: https://t.co/3TTNysFrv4 pic.twitter.com/mMy5XyoVLg

— House Judiciary GOP 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 (@JudiciaryGOP) July 10, 2024

The report details a coordinated effort by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and its Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) initiative to demonetize and suppress disfavored content across the internet.

The Power Players Behind GARM

The WFA, a global association representing over 150 of the world’s biggest brands and over 60 national advertiser associations, created GARM in 2019. This alliance quickly amassed significant market power, representing roughly 90% of global advertising spend, which amounts to nearly one trillion dollars annually.

GARM’s Steer Team reads like a who’s who of corporate America, including heavyweights such as Unilever, Mars, Diageo, Procter & Gamble (P&G), GroupM, AB InBev, L’Oréal, Nestlé, IBM, Mastercard, and PepsiCo. These corporations not only wield immense economic influence but are now revealed to be leveraging this power to control online discourse under the guise of “brand safety.”

GARM members colluded to cut Twitter’s revenue after Elon Musk’s acquisition.

As early as November of 2022, Danish energy company and GARM member Ørsted, contacted GARM to discuss “the Twitter situation” and “a possible boycott.” pic.twitter.com/Ekkv2ULuzz

— House Judiciary GOP 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 (@JudiciaryGOP) July 10, 2024

The Committee report details multiple instances of GARM’s coordinated efforts to influence and censor online content. Perhaps the most notable example is the recommendation for a boycott of Twitter following Elon Musk’s acquisition. GARM members, including Danish energy company Ørsted, were advised to pull their advertising from Twitter, a move that significantly impacted Twitter’s revenue. Internal emails show GARM’s satisfaction with the result, with GARM leader Rob Rakowitz boasting about the impact on Twitter’s financials.

GARM recommended that its members ‘stop all paid advertisement’ on Twitter in response to Mr. Musk’s acquisition of the company. GARM’s internal documents show that GARM was asked by a member to ‘arrange a meeting and hear more about [GARM’s] perspectives about the Twitter situation and a possible boycott from many companies.” -House Judiciary Committee

GARM surveyed its members about @elonmusk‘s acquisition of Twitter. GARM shared this info with its members in the context of a boycott.

The survey results would give advertisers the confidence to pull ad campaigns w/o losing out to competitors.

— House Judiciary GOP 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 (@JudiciaryGOP) July 10, 2024

Unilever was particularly miffed that Musk released internal communications which became known as the Twitter Files, specifically over the Hunter Biden laptop story:

“Unilever, through GARM, also expressed issues with Mr. Musk exposing the truth about how Twitter, prior to Mr. Musk’s acquisition, censored the Hunter Biden laptop story.”

Spotify and its star podcaster, Joe Rogan, also came under GARM’s scrutiny. Despite not placing advertisements on Rogan’s podcast, GARM pressured Spotify to take action against Rogan for his comments on COVID-19. This included threatening to review Spotify’s entire Trust & Safety policies and pushing for a public condemnation of the platform.

“GroupM knew there was no brand safety concern because it did not buy advertisements on Mr. Rogan’s podcast, but it still sought to silence Mr. Rogan’s views anyway.”

Meanwhile, “On February 10, 2022, Coca-Cola emailed Mr. Rakowitz regarding ‘evaluating Spotify to better access the Joe Rogan Experience’ and noting that the ‘particular issue (misinformation) does not exactly fit cleanly into [Coca-Cola’s] policy.”

Political Influence and Targeting Conservative Media

GARM’s influence extends into the political realm as well. The report notes efforts by GARM and its members to flag a Trump campaign advertisement as misinformation during the 2020 presidential election. This advertisement, which questioned Joe Biden’s debate performance, was scrutinized by Unilever and other GARM members, who pushed Facebook to take action against it.

Conservative news outlets have been particular targets of GARM’s exclusion lists, curated with input from biased organizations like the Global Disinformation Index (GDI) and NewsGuard. These exclusion lists disproportionately flag right-leaning sites such as Fox News, The Daily Wire, Breitbart News, New York Post, and The Federalist as purveyors of misinformation, thus cutting off their advertising revenue and limiting their reach.

Actually insidious…

Extremely concerning! https://t.co/EF5shOhMf5

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 10, 2024


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