MSM: Migration Concerns Just a Russian Psyop to Cut Ukraine Funding

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by Luis Miguel, The New American:

After all these years of crying “Russia! Russia! Russia!” you would think the mainstream media would by now have come up with a new argument when engaging conservatives on important issues.

A recent piece by The Associated Press articulates a fascinating talking point among the Left: That Republicans’ insistence on securing the southern border is allegedly nothing more than the result of Russian disinformation.

According to AP, Russian state media and online accounts linked to Moscow have disseminated and magnified deceptive and provocative content regarding U.S. immigration policy. This orchestrated campaign is allegedly designed to fuel outrage and division in the lead-up to the 2024 election. Experts analyzing Russian disinformation claim there will be further efforts, as Putin aims to undermine support for Ukraine and disrupt a crucial supply of aid.

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AP contends that the Kremlin-tied social media accounts publish posts, stories, and videos that inaccurately portray the effects of immigration, showcase stories emphasizing crimes attributed to immigrants, and caution of severe consequences if the U.S. does not tighten border control with Mexico. The news outlet maintains that numerous posts are deceptive, containing selectively chosen data or discredited rumors.

As AP’s David Klepper writes:

The pivot toward the United States comes after two years in which Russia’s vast disinformation apparatus was busy pushing propaganda and disinformation about its invasion of Ukraine. Experts who study how authoritarian states use the internet to spread disinformation say eroding support for Ukraine remains Russia’s top priority — and that the Kremlin is just finding new ways to do it.

“Things have shifted, even in the last few days,” said Kyle Walter, head of research at Logically, a tech company that tracks disinformation campaigns. While experts and government officials have long warned of Russia’s intentions, Walter said the content spotted so far this year “is the first indication that I’ve seen that Russia is actually going to focus on U.S. elections.”

This month Logically identified dozens of pro-Russian accounts posting about immigration in the U.S., with a particular interest in promoting recent anti-immigration rallies in Texas. A recent Logically assessment concluded that after two years spent largely dedicated to the war in Ukraine, Russia’s disinformation apparatus has “started 2024 with a focus on the U.S.”

Logically asserts that posts that focus on crimes committed by illegal aliens or call them a burden on local communities are part of Moscow’s propaganda machine, whether the accounts making these statements have few or millions of followers.

Over the last week, immigration hawks emphasized the death of Georgia nursing student Laken Riley at the hands of an illegal alien. Donald Trump and Republicans called it a preventable and needless murder of an American citizen. But for the mainstream media, this was nothing more than Russian propaganda.

The Establishment argues that the presence of immigration-themed articles on Russian media prove that the Kremlin is behind the American Right’s migration narrative. For example, a recent anti-immigration protest video aired by the Russian outlet RT garnered thousands of views this week on X and elicited heated responses.

In another example, the Russian media outlet Sputnik this week published an article on the increasing demands to construct a U.S.-Mexico border wall, a key policy priority of Donald Trump. An examination of other websites that subsequently shared the Sputnik article reveals that over half of them were based in the United States, as per data from the online analytics firm Semrush.com. Americans, in fact, constitute the largest audience for the English-language Sputnik.

American authorities have issued warnings that in 2024 Russia might attempt to interfere in the elections of numerous countries, with over 50 nations (accounting for half the global population) slated to conduct national votes this year. Both the European Parliament elections and the United States presidential election are prime targets.

Establishment officials say a Trump presidency would be more favorable to Putin, as Trump has suggested pulling military protection from European allies who do not pay their fair share to NATO.

According to surveys, more than half of Republicans think the federal government is spending too much money on Ukraine. Democrats, on the other hand, tend to be more supportive of giving large sums of money to the Ukrainian government to continue the war.

Bret Schafer, senior fellow at the Washington-based Alliance for Securing Democracy and the leader of the think tank’s information manipulation team, said of the Moscow propaganda apparatus:

They’re very savvy and understand the right buttons to push…. If your ultimate objective is to reduce support for Ukraine, your inroad might be talking about how bad things are on the southern border. Their path to win this thing is to get the U.S. and the E.U. to stop sending weapons and aid to Ukraine.

As always, when it looks as though Trump has a shot at winning an election, the media comes out, guns blazing, with accusations of Russian interference. Now they’ve gotten to the point that every issue of importance to conservatives is nothing more than Russian disinformation.

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