And just like that, another anti-Trump narrative comes crashing down.
A new study by New York University’s Center for Social Media and Politics revealed that Russian “election meddling” on Twitter did nothing to change votes in the 2016 election in favor of Donald Trump.
As an NYU press release noted of the study on Monday, researchers “concluded that there was no relationship between exposure to the Russian foreign influence campaign and changes in attitudes, polarization, or voting behavior.”
“Russian Twitter campaigns during the 2016 presidential race primarily reached a small subset of users, most of whom were highly partisan Republicans,” NYU further explained.
In addition, researchers found that “despite Russia’s influence operations on the platform, there were no measurable changes in attitudes, polarization, or voting behavior among those exposed to this foreign influence campaign.”
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The findings essentially torpedo nearly eight years of claims by liberals and NeverTrumpers — who collectively could be considered “election deniers” — that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and his minions swayed the vote for Trump over Hillary Clinton.
Trinity College Dublin professor Tom Paskhalis, a co-lead author of the study, touched on this in a statement.
“Debate about the 2016 U.S. election continues to raise questions about the legitimacy of the Trump presidency and to engender mistrust in the electoral system, which in turn may be related to Americans’ willingness to accept claims of voter fraud in the 2020 election and future elections,” said Paskhalis.
In other words, because liberals continued for years to deny that Trump won, and many still do, without producing evidence to support that claim, conservatives by 2020 tended to believe that the only way he could lose was if the leftists cheated.
If anything, it was the pro-Hillary mainstream media that had its thumbs on the scale in 2016.
According to the release, researchers determined “that exposure to the Russian influence campaign on Twitter was significantly eclipsed by content from domestic news media and politicians.”
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“On average, the study’s respondents were exposed to roughly four posts from Russian foreign influence accounts per day in October of 2016. But, over the same period, they were exposed to an average of 106 posts on average per day from national news media and 35 posts per day from U.S. politicians.”
Technical University of Munich professor Jan Zilinsky, another of the study’s authors, noted of that stat, “In other words, online users saw 25 times more posts from national news media and nine times as many posts from politicians than those from Russian foreign influence accounts.”
And when the “meddlers” were active, they essentially preached to the choir.
Those Russian operatives targeted “strong Republicans” with nine posts for each post they aimed at a liberal or moderate.
Liberals undoubtedly will dismiss the study, even though it was done by NYU and analysts from Denmark, Ireland and Germany.
Some may claim that Twitter was less of a player than Facebook.
Yet as conservative pundit Ben Shapiro pointed out on Wednesday, there is no reason to believe an analysis of Facebook traffic would reveal anything different.
After all, the researchers noted that the disinfo operation on Twitter was led by the Internet Research Agency, a troll farm with close ties to the Russian government. The IRA was also the primary influence operation active on Facebook in 2016.