Monday, February 19, 2018

How fake news helped elect Dump

In Rosenstein's announcement about the Russian indictments he said: "There is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election" (5:28). Just because the indictment didn't address the issue doesn't mean it had no effect. This recent study indeed shows that the very conduct outlined in the indictment likely did exactly that. "Our study concludes that fake news most likely did have a substantial impact on the voting decisions of a strategically important set of voters." The study was focused on former Obama voters who voted for Dump. "Our survey data show that 10 percent of these former Obama voters cast ballots for Trump in 2016, 4 percent switched to minor parties and 8 percent did not vote." The fake news stories that flipped these voters were the following:

1. Hillary Clinton's in in very poor health due to a serious illness.
2.  During her time as US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton approved weapons sales to Islamic jihadists, including ISIS.
3. Pope Francis endorsed Dump for Presidunce prior to the election.

The article also debunks the other explanations for the defection.

"Though our evidence does not 'prove' that belief in fake news 'caused' these former Obama voters to defect from the Democratic candidate in 2016, our study results suggest that it is highly likely that the pernicious pollution of our political discourse by fake news was sufficient to influence the outcome of what was a very close election."

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