Media reporting about the Russian Troll Indictment has been hysterical. Rep. Jerry Nadler called it a Pearl Harbor and others described it as 9/11. In fact, the Russians only spent $54 in Wisconsin after the primary, $823 in Michigan and $300 in Pennsylvania.
The non-hysterical version of the Russian Troll spying story does not involve President Trump although you would never know it from the way it is being reported. Byron York listed the facts on The Washington Examiner which we summarized here.
WHILE DESCRIBED AS TRUMP-RELATED, IT HARDLY WAS
The Russians began their operation by at least 2014. Three Russians were given visas by the John Kerry State Department. It allowed them to travel around the United States and collect data.
Most of the troll operation was done on social media.
According to the indictment, when attention turned to the 2016 race, the Russians “engaged in operations primarily intended to communicate derogatory information about Hillary Clinton, to denigrate other candidates such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, and to support Bernie Sanders and then-candidate Donald Trump.”
The focus was on Hillary who was expected to win the election. After Trump won the primary, attention turned to him.
The indictment is vague as to what Russians spent – it was “thousands a month”.
Facebook estimated about eleven million people saw the ads but 54% of that was after the election. Twenty-five percent of the ads were seen by no one. The Russian content only accounted for .004% of the Facebook newsfeed.
There was no mention of Russian President Putin in the indictment.
RUSSIANS SPENT PIDDLING AMOUNTS IN KEY STATES
Byron York quoted Democrat Senator Burr reminding people that more ads ran in 2015 than in 2016. The Russians spent a piddling $1,979 in Wisconsin and only $54 after the primary. The total spent in Michigan was $823, and in Pennsylvania, it was only $300. Those are the states that cost Hillary the election.
“One point the media has gotten correct is that more of these geographically targeted ads ran in 2015 than 2016 – again, before President Trump was identified as a Republican candidate for president. But some of the context surrounding the more than $100,000 worth of divisive ads on hot-button issues purchased by Russian actors is missing.
To add some detail here where the media has failed to do it and put the $100,00 into a frame of reference, the total ad spend for the state of Wisconsin was $1,979, with all but $54 being spent before the primary – again, before the emergence of a Republican candidate. The ad spend in the state of Michigan was $823; Pennsylvania, $300. To believe the narrative that – you have to accept that these sophisticated, well-resourced Russian actors studied our process, assessed what states would be critical to the election result, then snuck and invested all of $300 to execute their plan in Pennsylvania – $300. More than five times as much money was spent on advertising in California, a state that hasn’t voted Republican in presidential elections since 1988.”
JERRY NADLER CALLS IT PEARL HARBOR
Rep. Nadler compared the Russian Troll Indictment to Pearl Harbor where thousands were killed in a very brutal way. Dan Bongino responded to that.
Total election spending: $2.4 billion. Total Russian Facebook ad buy: $100,000. Total Clinton/Trump Facebook ad buys: $81 million. Russian Facebook ad buy in PA: $300. MI: $832. WI: $1979 (all but $54 before primary). Quote below from Sen. Burr:
— Byron York (@ByronYork) February 19, 2018